What is so surprising about this EP is that it has been released by a lead rapper of successful idol group that claims to have roots in underground and more aggressive music. Yet, Park Kyung’s release of “Notebook” on 18th January 2017, his second solo project and first solo EP, paints a whole new image of Park Kyung: from lead rapper to amazing vocalist, “Notebook” shows Park Kyung’s great versatility and ability as an artist. With the support of fellow musicians, “Notebook” has proven to be a solid and engaging midwinter EP.
Ordinary Love ft. Park Boram
This opening track is great! ‘Ordinary Love’ is a lovely, smooth R&B track supported by Park Boram’s sweet vocals. Here, Park Kyung’s rap-lines work really well and suit Park Boram’s vocals. For an intro into his EP, ‘Ordinary Love’ definitely eases us into what will be a sweet, romantic, and easy-to-listen EP.
When I’m With You ft. Brother Su
The moment this track opens, you are drawn into a romantic, winter jazz tune: with smooth saxophones, a light drum beat, a mellow cello, an echoing guitar, and of course the underlying piano line supporting both Park Kyung and Brother Su’s amazingly sweet vocals, this track is an absolute winner. And it’s this track, like his previous release ‘Inferiority Complex’, that really demonstrates his ability as a vocalist and not just a rapper. This track is another winner, and definitely suits the post-Christmas but ongoing winter vibe.
‘Ogeul ogeul’ is the Korean onomatopoeic word that refers to something cheesy or corny that is both embarrassing but also sweet. And this track is definitely ogeul ogeul! Again, another jazzy track but this time with the guitar and drums only (until finally we get a bass brass line during the chorus), Park Kyung swings between vocals and rap lines. The chorus is great and it draws out Park Kyung’s vocals. However, it’s this track that focuses on his rap skills despite the sweet and jazzy tune. Overall, this track is great but probably not as strong as some of the other tracks on this EP.
Inferiority Complex ft. Eunha of GFRIEND
Since the single release of this track on 25th May 2016, ‘Inferiority Complex’ featured heavily on my summer playlists: it’s a cheeky, playful, and cute track that definitely set the tone for Park Kyung’s release of “Notebook” itself. Despite B Block recently having a more direct, intensely emotional set of releases, especially with ‘Toy’, this track definitely stood in stark contrast and really placed Park Kyung in a very different role from what he usually played. That’s where the success of this track lies! Another winner for sure!
Memories ft. Yoon Hyun Sang
There is definitely beauty in simplicity, and ‘Memories’ definitely characterises that ideal. Initially with just the acoustic guitar, Yoon Hyun Sang’s mellow and amazing vocals, and Park Kyung’s rich rap verses, ‘Memories’ strums all the heartstrings. However, it’s halfway through the track when the strings and light synths enter the track that those heartstrings are really tugged, really working with the rap lines and pulling you into an amazingly deep and sentimental trance before switching us back to the simplicity and beauty of Yoon Hyun Sang’s vocal lines. It’s a beautiful track and one that was definitely the perfect conclusion to this great EP.
As Block B’s lead rapper, this kind of EP is both surprising and yet not entirely: Park Kyung set up his cute, playful style with last year’s release of ‘Inferiority Complex’. Yet, perhaps people weren’t expecting an EP with such sweet tracks and no little aggressive and overbearing tracks, unlike VIXX’s Ravi. Nevertheless, this EP ticks all the boxes for a post-Christmas and midwinter release, easing us into the promise of spring in a months’ time. Overall, this EP has been wonderfully produced, with some great tracks and definitely the right amount of cuteness, emotion, and romance. Well done, Park Kyung! You’ve won me over for sure!
Review written by Tariq