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Published : 2014-06-27 20:40
Updated : 2014-06-27 20:40

Jung Joon-young revives rock spirit on new EP

Jung Joon-young
“Teenager”
(CJ E&M)

Singer Jung Joon-young is bringing back rock ’n’ roll spirit to the local music scene inundated by mainstream pop music with his new EP “Teenager.”

With the new release, Jung boldly declares a return to his roots as a hardcore rocker, showcasing six tracks infused with electric hard rock sounds and his signature, soaring vocals that made him a top contestant on the 2012 audition program “Superstar K4.” The new EP definitely speaks louder than the soft-rock ballads of his debut album.

Every song on the new EP is imbued with a dose of Jung’s unique style and colors, given that the singer participated in composing and producing all of the album’s tracks. “Teenager” is also reflective of the singer’s personal philosophies on life, embodying his perceptions on universal themes including dreams, friends, love and loneliness.

The EP’s eponymous title track “Teenager” embodies the idea of a “dreaming adult,” exploring the notion of adults who remain young at heart.

Jung bellows the lyrics with energy and passion amidst a fusion of strings and colorful guitar riffs in the chorus. “Although I have grown taller, I am still a teenager at heart,” Jung declares as the song comes to a close.

“To Me” is a fast tempo, hard-rock track sung almost like a rap. Jung reminds listeners, and also himself, to never compromise oneself to the world’s pressures and commercial success. “Why change your own color / Why chase your green dollar?” he asks with a pinch of cynicism. Jung even shouts the bridge through a megaphone at one point, amplifying his message.

“Friend” is a candid confession dedicated to friends who stand by through the bad and good times while “Teeth” holds a powerful message about lies. “Hold On” and “Sailboat” are both slower songs with darker undertones, dealing with emotional downfall, lost direction and grief.

(jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)



Blige solid on ‘Think Like a Man’ album

Mary J. Blige
“Think Like A Man Too-- Music from and Inspired by the Film”
(Epic)

Sequels rarely outshine the originals they follow, so perhaps that’s why the team behind the “Think Like a Man” soundtrack decided to do something different with the music for the romantic comedy’s second installment.

Execs ditched the “various artists” formula -- though last time it yielded a Grammy-nominated hit with John Legend’s “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” -- and instead put all their faith in a singular artist: Mary J. Blige. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul easily proves herself more than capable of exercising a vocal and emotional range to capture all the ups, downs and misfires one might expect from a movie inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling relationship guide book.

Harvey would certainly approve Blige’s message on the anthemic “Power Back.” “The more you do that BS, the more I keep it real,” she sings of dealing with a wishy-washy lover. “If it’s one thing men respect, it’s when we don’t react.”

Self-assured Blige is serious about commitment, and she says as much on the ominous, head nod-inducing “All Fun and Games,” produced by The-Dream. But for all Blige’s tough talking, she has a soft side, too.

She finds chemistry in the club on the delicious horn and drum-laced “See That Boy Again,” produced by Pharrell. On the growling “I Want You,” she’s all torn up inside when she spots her ex-guy with a new woman. And she’s aching to be loved “like I’m you, like I’m you, babe,” on “Self Love,” a beautifully grand track, which is easily the soundtrack’s most riveting offering.

As a whole, the “Think Like a Man Too” compilation reveals that while women and men might be closer to figuring each other out, we can never outsmart love. (AP)



Phish plays as a group on ‘Fuego’

Phish
“Fuego”
(ATO Records)

For a band that made its name on being able to interact with one another while playing live, Phish has had a hard time translating that collaborative interplay in the studio.

They succeed on “Fuego,” the Vermont quartet’s first studio release in five years. It’s a fun, spirited, rocking record that has a cohesiveness largely lacking on Phish releases in recent years

It actually sounds like they’re having fun -- together.

On the nine-minute title track and opener “Fuego,” band members trade lead vocals and harmonize on a driving tune with Phish at its musical best, even though the lyrics are largely nonsensical.

“Sing Monica” and “Devotion to a Dream” bounce along with the catchiest of Phish songs. “Wombat” is a weird stinker in most respects, but so what? It sounds like they were having a blast recording it, especially the references to “Barney Miller” and its little-remembered spin-off “Fish,” named after the character played by Abe Vigoda.

The most intriguing song on the 10-track set, “The Line,” joins the pantheon of rock tunes about dramatic moments in sports history. It focuses on the story of University of Memphis basketball player Darius Washington, Jr. as he steps to the line to take three free throws to decide the 2005 Conference USA tournament.

It’s quirky and rocks at the same time. But that’s Phish. That’s “Fuego.” (AP)

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