Key — Gasoline |  In Online Reviews
Key — Gasoline | In Online Reviews

Key — Gasoline | In Online Reviews

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GasThe title track’s is at an unfavorable low on Key’s second full-length LP, but the album’s b-side reminds him that he’s one of the most magnetic K-pop soloists in the game.

Key, a member of the K-pop boy group SHINee, doesn’t do things quietly. Gas is his fourth project as a soloist and his second full-length album, following last September bad love EP, whose explosive synthwave title track is one of the best K-pop releases of 2021. The EP itself is also excellent from top to bottom, with b-sides ranging from ’80s throwbacks to contemporary dance-pop to depressing R&B ballads.

Gas is, in many ways, a smooth progression for Key’s solo discography, with a lot of confident dance-pop that he’s very good at. However, the title track goes in a different direction, brash and harsh with a hip-hop beat. This would probably be great as a hype song at a concert, but outside of that context “Gasoline” is less than satisfying. The instrumental is a bit dry and flat, and because it stays at maximum energy for the entire runtime, it doesn’t offer a lot of interesting dynamics against which to compare Key’s (committed as usual) performance. The rest of the album is more synthy and drawn to negative space, which also makes for a difficult transition from title track to b-side; “Bound” is one of the best songs on the album, but its sexy control doesn’t play out as effectively after the explosive power of “Gasoline.” Really, this project makes a lot more sense if you take the title track: start at number two, and you have a tight collection of synthpops that play with suspense and release, darkness and light, without getting too caught up in being. a statement that dictates that a K-pop single is expected.

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There are many anti-falls, and the chorus is generally built around negative space, in Gas. The first few are evil and cunning; “Villain” plays to an offbeat rhythm and hip-hop production, and the soft vocal vibes, heavy bass, and evil flute of “Bound” will no doubt appear on Taemin’s album if Key’s group mates release music now (this is one only one). K-pop’s highest praise). Songs like “I Can’t Sleep” and “Delight” took a more soaring and softer approach, but remained optimistic; “Ain’t Gonna Dance” has a bit of a hyperpop drum streak; “Guilty Pleasure” produced by LDN Noise understands its role as a necessary mover and does it well. And Key’s vocals are a consistent highlight: his sharp timbre gives his solo work a distinct character, and his charisma as a performer emerges even in audio.

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SM Entertainment manages several dozen comebacks per year, and more than any other K-pop label relies on writing camps to fill many of their album track lists. Because of this, albums from SM artists—especially full-length ones—tend to feel a bit collage together, gathering whatever appropriate b-sides happen to be in the vault while the album is in the works. Improving this collage format is one of the hype of a good K-pop project, but listeners can at least guess. Gas partially assembled by throwing a lasso around some vocal-heavy dance-pop demos in the SM vault. The standout song “Another Life” is even a remnant of bad love session: it was first teased as a distraction during a Key concert last year, and the larger-than-life synthwave sound is a clear holdover from an earlier era. And while many K-pop artists have made ’80s retro tunes, it’s rare that they sound as drunken as this one. Key knows how to sell a strong melody, but when he singsleaveIn the chorus, the production briefly turns weightless. Meanwhile, “Another Life” makes a strong case for being the best track in the project, even though it’s probably best not to be a single for the sake of not being creatively stagnant. That’s disappointing Gas works best with the title track taken from the conversation, but there’s nothing disappointing about his b-side, which reminds us that Key is one of the most magnetic soloists in K-pop.

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