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DEAN ‘130 Mood: TRBL’ Album Review

· D

There aren’t many Kpop fans who haven’t heard of this artist and songwriter, and this album is his sole EP. More like a collection of memorable stand-alone songs, this remains a valuable treasure for those who enjoy his music. And what’s not to enjoy? Ranging from jazzy piano riffs to immersive hiphop beats, he plays with rhythm and improvisation in a voice that might not be powerful, but is unmistakably sassy.

An outro at the beginning of an album? The song AND YOU (OUTRO) is just as confusing and intriguing as its name. The lyrics speak of the distress of reconnecting with an ex in the dreamy yet simplistic words that fill all of these songs. The aged piano in the background puts you under a strange spell, sucking you deeper as the music takes on a darker tone. Suddenly, the beat becomes mad and mechanic and he starts flying through a string of swear words, jolting you back to reality with a shock. In my opinion, this song is a nod to the prankster hidden beneath his serious lyrics. Between smooth melodies, this character will return to play his small jokes on the listener with exasperating finesse.

I can say with all certainty that Pour Up is my favourite track on this album. DEAN creates an intoxicating atmosphere, speaking of a heartbroken night of confusion and madness in the subtle yet charming style that marks him out. In just a few bars, Zico shows off his rapping prowess while painting a heady picture that perfectly complements the song’s nighttime setting.

Bonnie & Clyde might seem to have the same cryptic lyrics and moody sound as the song before, but DEAN’s sassy vocal flourishes create a feeling that’s as clear and confident as the former is hazy and unsure. At times, the lines are delivered almost like rap, matched with a sudden swell of percussion to prove that he isn’t afraid to change things up. The slow-building bridge might drag on a little, but it works well to change the pace and bring in something a little different.

The soft piano returns in Tell Me What 2 Do. Here we get to see DEAN’s sweet side in a song that conjures up a sunny day despite being quietly despairing about a relationship gone stale. Crush’s buttery voice is perfect for these emotions, and the final chorus is layered thick with his vocalisations, making it a highlight of the song.

“My sighs build up like the sand in an hourglass

“Even if I spill out my all, you won’t be filled up in the end”

This fades flawlessly into D Half Moon, a beautiful metaphor for the incomplete feeling when a loved one is away. This is catchy in a way no other song in this album has been, making it as fun to sing along to as it is easy to cry with.

DEAN turns up the heat with I Love It, a song that’s satisfyingly dance-worthy. He shows us how he can use his sassy vocals to create a trendy song that delivers its feel good message whether you know the meaning or not. Dok2 spices up the album with his rhythmic, funny rap that ties the song together beautifully.

We all wish we were 21 when listening to this song. It talks about something very different to the ones near the beginning of this album – a cool and composed girl driving him mad with mixed signals. This varied album is finished off on a good note with this positive and uplifting song.

Kpop Review Café’s Overall Ranking: 6.5/10

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Written by Krystal