Going into “1, 2, 3!,” the lead track off of Seungri’s latest album, I had no idea what to expect. In the middle of BIGBANG’s hiatus, and just how many years since Seungri had made a solo comeback? Who could know what the quirky guy would bring to 2018? My uncertainty was wholly and completely needless. Seconds into the song—I’m talking halfway through the first line Seungri sang—it was clear that BIGBANG’s youngest member had done it again. Often when the first verse of a song really gets me, I’ll be telling myself, “Wait, wait for the hook, it might disappoint you.” In the case of “1, 2, 3!” I was too busy reeling in the delicious composition and wonderfully simple production to even think that far ahead. And that’s exactly what you want from music, right? For it to sweep you away? “1, 2, 3!” does just that, partly by virtue of Seungri’s star power and partly because the song is just that good.
It’s true that “1, 2, 3!” has a very BIGBANG vibe to it, even a slightly G-Dragon-inspired feeling, in its party-ready bombast and unapologetic attitude. But Seungri’s slick panache balances the characteristically YG-boygroup brashness with a uniquely classy appeal, which appears not only in the vocalist’s delivery but in the jazz-glossed composition which occasionally brings the melody to a unexpected minor, adding a whole new flavor. It’s because of this zest that the largely instrumental-based hook doesn’t feel lacking, that the returning “whoa-oh-oh”s don’t feel repetitive. Of course, the fact that the verses and prechoruses are well-fleshed out doesn’t hurt either.
The rest of the album, fittingly named “The Great Seungri,” is solid as expected. The multiple featuring artists, including labelmates Mino of WINNER and B.I of iKON, do a great job, but Seungri manages to overshadow every one of them. I found myself especially impressed by “Mollado,” the B.I feature, whose Latin-inspired composition contrasts delightfully with a pebbly, almost bubbly electronic texture. Singer Blue.D also makes a distinct impression on the duet “Love is You.” While the album does devolve into a succession of melancholic dance tracks towards the very end, there’s not a single bad song. Still, none of the side tracks jump out the way “1, 2, 3!” does. Between its melodic eccentricity and its massive catchiness, “1, 2, 3!” is everything I was hoping for. “The Great Seungri” has, unequivocally, proven that he is just that.
1, 2, 3!: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? This is no ordinary bop. This is The Great Bop.
Take a look at Seungri’s “1, 2, 3!” MV below: