Gain is always a solid solo performer for me. While I love Kpop and it’s style I find it can begin to wear thin a bit and Gain produces music that fall outside the typical mould, providing respite from the onslaught of bubblegum happiness that typifies Kpop.
She has promised something different with this album, and she has a track record of delivering different sounds so I am intrigued to see what she has to offer this time. The album is to be delivered in 2 parts, with this being the 1st.
01. Carrie (The First Day)
This song sets the sound for the album well, with a smooth jazz flow and sounds like something you can imagine a lounge singer singing. Everything about the song makes me think of sequins and shows and it is a perfect opening track. It’s a sweeter sound than we often get from Gain, even bloom had a harsh edge to it, but it retains a sultriness than marks it as her own. It wouldn’t be a great solo release, although that being said it would be a lovely addition to the slew of autumn ballads we are about to get to give some diversity and volume to the sound.
02. Carnival (The Last Day)
I reviewed this song and MV earlier, as well as shooting an initial reaction to it and, to be frank, as a title track it disappoints me. Commentators are not being over harsh for once when they point out its similarities to IU and on its own this may not be a bad thing, in fact as an album track it might even be a refreshing sound from Gain.
I will admit that my thoughts on the song may be coloured by the styling and the music video somewhat, however this is to be expected with a title track and would have been easily mitigated with a better video.
03. ( 반딧불이의 숲) Forest of Fireflies
A beautiful song, showcasing Gain’s breathy voice. It sounds like it could easily be out of a film soundtrack and almost managed to be my favourite track off of the album. At this point I am really feeling this album is a sort of ‘hello’ to autumn and a goodbye to the summer dance tracks.
Secret uses latin guitar to tweak the carnival sound. Again the song is very suited for Gain’s vocal style and is a much more interesting listen (to me) than Carnival. If this had been the lead track I would have purchased the album straight away, despite it perhaps being a slightly slower track.
The changes of tempo in the song keep the song interesting and hold your ear and my brain is automatically imaging choreography along with it. Rarely does a slower, softer song make me think of dancing so decisively as this track.
Definitely my favourite track of the album and well worth a purchase if you haven’t already!
05. Begin Again (inst)
I love that the last track is ‘Begin’ again and I love that it goes out on an instrumental, really filling out that ‘show’ sound that prevails throughout the album.
All in all the album is good, unfortunately the title track let’s it down somewhat and there is now extra ‘wow’ moment to replace it. If you like this type of music for background then this may be a great album for you, for the rest of us… let’s hope that part 2 delivers the ‘punch’ this album needs.