This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.
1. Trouble With You
3. How You Been
4. Down For You
5. Love Die Young - Korean Version
Eric Nam makes a triumphant return with his 4th mini-album release, "The Other Side". This American-born idol went to Twitter to express that he poured his all into this latest mini-album, and it shows when listening to his newest music.
My number one problem with Eric Nam's The Other Side, is ironically enough, the fact that it's too short of an album. Eric has displayed serious growth in developing his own unique sound, and it is certainly showcased well in the five tracks that compose of this release.
This week has been seriously "Paradise" themed- with three different artists all releasing songs entitled "Paradise" on their mini albums. Eric's "Paradise" however is probably my favorite "Paradise" titled release of 2020, but not just because of the name! The song is dynamic, upbeat, melodic, and dancey to a particular level that seems intended. The song serves as a wonderful showcase of Eric's vocal ability as well. In my opinion, the best titles give the idol some breathing room to get creative instead of overpowering them with too complicated of an instrumental and "Paradise" hits those boxes for me by letting Eric really shine.
The rest of the release can be divided between slower ballad type pop songs and super upbeat house tracks. Both of which, were executed with poise. The album's catchy pop earworm "Trouble With You" catches your attention as soon as you sit down to listen. Track 3 "How You Been" was the album's token emotional ballad that definitely had me feeling like I was supposed to have a scorned face and reach for the nearest bottle of wine. Likewise, the Korean version of "Love Die Young" also evoked extreme sadness and emotion that we'd love to see Eric perform live eventually.
The biggest wildcard to Eric Nam's latest release is actually Track 4, "Down For You". With an ultra-infectious and bouncy melody followed by insanely bumping 808s coming through with Eric's silky smooth voice, "Down For You" takes the cake for absolute best track on this album. The bassline is so funky, the song is house-inspired, and I can definitely see Eric bringing down the house with this track. The passion of this track shines as the album's cardinal must-listen.
The music video for "Paradise" ties thematically to the concept of Eric Nam's album, "The Other Side," as the album is meant to showcase another side to Eric. Similarly, the music video depicts Eric playing different versions of himself. We begin with a vaporwave aesthetic intro with someone typing on an old desktop computer- which quickly proves to be Eric working some sort of cubicle desk job. He sees an ad for a way to meet the best version of himself (through a paradise device!) and quickly orders it. The rest of the video consists of him navigating this inception-like dream world of "Paradise" and switching between his personas.
The recurring motif of this video is the note that his alter ego hands to him that says "vis ta vie" or "live your life". Perhaps this video is an indication that Eric will continue to evolve as a singer/songwriter on his own terms. Though the complications of being an idol is a frequently seen topic and concept, I still feel that Eric's MV was deliberate and unique to him.
MV Score: 9
Album Score: 9