Seo In Guk has gradually been making a name for himself among the K-pop social spheres. Descending from “Superstar K” superstardom as the Korean singing competition’s 2009 winner, Seo In Guk’s debut mini album and its follow ups have been received really well and have done a good job of establishing his contemporary-pop, R&B musical style.
This month, Seo In Guk dropped “Perfect Fit“, his latest mini-album, featuring rapper Swings and work by Dynamic Duo. Having already been enthralled by Seo In Guk’s previous work, I’ve been looking forward to this hunk’s future projects ever since he announced his comeback earlier this month. After giving the album a few spins, “Perfect Fit” not only satisfies, but it may very well be Seo In Guk’s most cohesively brilliant work yet.
Seo In Guk possesses a smooth voice that fits nicely with the R&B style he relishes in in his music. There are very strong Usher-esque qualities to Seo In Guk’s vocal performance, which is the exact style that he carves into the flesh and blood of “Perfect Fit”.
The album speaks with the finesse of 90s and early 2000s R&B music. “Perfect Fit” flows swimmingly well, both as separate pieces and as a whole. The opening song, “Bad“, is a delicate tune with a style that is reminiscent of Taeyang‘s “You’re My“, except Seo In Guk takes the liberty of expanding the instrumental and construction of his song. “Bad” is velvety smooth in its quietest moments, and lush as hell in its grander ones. The chord progression in the chorus is absolutely beautiful, yet the song never once grows bigger than it should. It’s a calming gateway to the lead single, “밀고 당겨줘 (Tease Me),” which builds off of the delicacy of “Bad” and carries the listening experience into brand new territories.
“Tease Me” is one of this year’s greatest examples of how well Korea can produce a quality R&B single. You hear traces of Jason Derulo and Neyo in the instrumental, with a guitar riff similar to JD’s “It Girl“, except “Tease Me” has a way stronger kick. The airy strums blend really well with the light strings and panned high-hats, and of course Seo In Guk’s vocal harmonies tie everything in. It’s a simple song, but the execution is sheer mint.
The second half of the mini-album transitions as smoothly as Seo In Guk’s voice, floating right into the crisp, uplifting pop song, “Time Machine“, featuring Swings. “Time Machine” is a laid back song with a clean drum kit keeping the whole thing tight and in place. What really shines in this song are the melodies. They’re exceptionally pretty and catchy, contrasted with just the right amount of intensity by Swings’ rap verse at the middle eight. It’s the perfect pop number to cut the R&B brew without deviating too far from the overall flavor of the album.
“Brand New Day“, the last song on “Perfect Fit”, closes the mini-album with a light mid-tempo. Slightly Musiq Soulchild, “Brand New Day” is a dreamy song through and through. It utilizes claps, piano lines, and slick bass guitars, making this one of the more classic R&B productions on the album.
If you’re a fan of Daniel Marriweather and Usher, Seo In Guk serves up a delightful album that echoes the heart of their music. “Perfect Fit” is not nearly as intense as either artist’s music, but it is equally enjoyable. There’s a freshness about the way these songs are presented that brightens up the listening experience when compared to the normal K-pop formats.
“Perfect Fit” is cohesive, sensible, and wonderfully executed. It’s one of the year’s best mini-albums, and the closest one to Western-style music, but without even knowing it.