Arts & Culture

Album Review: G-Dragon – Kwon Jiyong

August 8, 2017

Returning to the stage after four years, here’s what to expect from G-Dragon’s new self-titled album, Kwon Jiyong.

Who is G-Dragon?

Arguably the most prominent figure in the Korean pop scene, G-Dragon needs no introduction. The K-pop superstar has been actively promoting as a member of Bigbang for over 10 years. He is also responsible for the group’s charts sweeping songs.

G-Dragon’s finally returned to the stage as a solo artist in four years. His new album is titled Kwon Jiyong, which is G-Dragon’s real name. And as the title suggests, the album has an autobiographical aspect to it. The song lyrics focus on G-Dragon’s personal character and growing pains as he enters his 30s.

What To Expect From Kwon Jiyong?

“It’s not an album meant to produce another hit song but rather he filled it with the music and lyrics that he wanted to produce and tell.” a YG representative said.

But truth be told, everything G-Dragon does is a sure hit. Kwon Jiyong sold over 700,000 copies only a day after its release in China alone. That’s the power of G-Dragon.

As for the album’s physical retail copy, the traditional CD format is not good enough for G-Dragon. We love how Kwon Jiyong comes is a red USB drive. It’s a smart move and we love the unique and personalised touch. Well done, GD!

Album Review

The album opens with “Middle Fingers Up”. Showing its trap music influence, the track openly acknowledges controversies. The verses are agile, fun and playful. Yet the chorus shows how provoking the track actually is. It feels like G-Dragon is challenging the world with easy to sing along shouts of “middle fingers up”.

Some may see it as purely explicit content. We see it as G-Dragon’s way of honestly encouraging his listeners to getting whatever they want in life by daring them and playfully asking them to go for their dreams without holding back.

G-Dragon continues to show a different kind of maturity in both his music and lyrics in “Bullshit”. We love how the track opens with “이 뭔 개소리야” translating to “what bullshit is this?”. The melody reminds us of G-Dragon’s successful past tracks. We enjoyed pointing the different influences from his past works like “Get your crayon, crayon”. Don’t get us started on the guitar sample. Love it.

Up next is a melancholy song, “Superstar”. A little heavy in comparison to G-Dragon’s usual sound range. Half way through the album, “Superstar” shows a different side of G-Dragon as the human being Kwon Jiyong. It further shows how Kwon Jiyong matured both musically and as a person.

Next comes “Untitled, 2014”, a track one would least expect from the K-pop superstar. “Untitled, 2014” is a slow-tempo track that sings of longing for a love to return after a breakup. The track sweeps off charts within hours!

Many singers went the wrong way reinventing ballad. But “Untitled, 2014” is a very pleasant surprise. This song proves G-Dragon’s ability not just as a songwriter but also as a singer. This is the song for VIPs who’ve been longing to see G-Dragon diversify his image. This is our favourite song of the album.

We believe “Untitled, 2014” is G-Dragon’s most mature track G-Dragon to date. The vocal range, clarity and harmonisation is just perfectly beautiful. The desperation in his voice earns some brownie points, too. Though “Untitled, 2014” wasn’t planned to be the title track initially, changing the title track might be the best G-Dragon’s best decision. Yet.

The outro track is titled “Divina Commedia”, which translates to the divine comedy. Considering how the track jeer at the world and how the lyrics truthfully depicts G-Dragon’s inner feelings, we are guessing that this track is a reflection of his life after the fame.

“Divina Commedia” continues the shift of mood of the album further. Creating depth and emotional space, the track is volatile. With this, Kwon Jiyong’s intimate and sincere life story closes. We believe listeners would feel like they know Kwon Jiyong a little better as they peeked through his life and struggles as a person.

G-Dragon’s Most Matured Album

All in all, Kwon Jiyong indeed shows how G-Dragon’s personal worries and stories has shifted as he enters his 30s through the lyrics. It is a very personal. It shows G-Dragon’s growth as a person while highlighting his growth as a musician. We agree that it’s an intimate album that contains the human being ‘Kwon Ji Yong’.

Following the release of the new album, G-Dragon will be holding a concert tour in 19 cities around the world including here in Australia. Find out what you need to do to catch him live in Australia here.

Review Score: 8 out of 10

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Kwon Jiyong is available now.

The original article is available on The AU Review Hello Asia.

Look out for more K-pop, city walkers!

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