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Review: Epik High’s ‘[e]’ album, part one (‘[e]motion’)

January 2, 2010

Some of you who have followed this blog for a while would probably know that I tend to review two group’s music as soon as it is released. These groups would be Big Bang and Epik High. WELL, that is until Epik High’s “[e]” album came out at a busy time in my life and ohhh boy, who would have thought that I’d get so lazy about listening to these tracks! I’ll give you a few reasons why at the end of the review, for those who are curious. I kind of needed to rationalize why for myself, so I’ll let you in on my thought process.

I really haven’t listened to this at all before. I heard song previews a while before the album was released, but I don’t even remember anymore. I also carefully avoided any music videos as well. OH, it was difficult. Now I get to! Here is the first part for you. I’ll release part two shortly.

Disc 1: [e]motion

  1. Oceans. Sand. Trees.: I love Epik High’s opening tracks. This one is no different! The piano is gorgeous. This whole song seems like something from a soundtrack. Love it.
  2. Slow Motion: What an interesting transition between songs! It’s rather dark. I kind of like how this song is starting. It sounds like it could go so many ways. It still has the feeling of a soundtrack, like the first song. I really like the chorus, holy smokes. I am always a fan of songs that play with the juxtaposition of rough and gentle. I don’t even think those are the adjectives I’m thinking of, but I hope you understand. The rapping has an almost harsh intensity and the chorus kind of undoes some of that. The more I hear this song the more I have to say it’s the perfect intro to the album. I don’t know how the rest of the tracks will sound, but this song is all about emotion and that’s the theme of the album, isn’t it? (If I was to compare this song to English artists I like, I feel like it’s a mix between Muse and Blonde Redhead.)
  3. 선물 (feat. 박지윤)/Gift (feat. Park Ji-yoon): I love them for using as much piano as possible. It really adds to the emotional aspect. I’ve always felt that piano, acoustic guitar and violin really work well as “voices” in songs… they just somehow translate differently than other instruments for me. This song has a slightly jazzy feel to it, doesn’t it? It’s a mellow track that fits well into what we’ve heard so far from this album. I’m curious what the second disc ([e]nergy) sounds like because so far this disc is feeling a lot like “Lovescream.” As weird as it sounds, I think this track will grown on me. Right now I’m not too into the pace or vocals, but it has a really good sense about it. Knowing me, that will smooth out into perfection as I become more aquatinted with it.
  4. No More Christmas: So far it seems like the piano is a running theme for this disc. I’m curious to find out what the lyrics of this song are. I like the wordplay I can decipher, with “dark knight/night” and “joker” etc. Leave it to Tablo to make that kind of reference. This song is so chill somehow. It feels like a long drive through thick trees. Maybe at sunset. I remember actually doing something like that with my family a few years back and now I recall that scene often for certain moods that need metaphorical scenery. I like the bridge in this track. It’s so funny because when this album was released, Christmas was really far off. Now it’s been done for over a week.
  5. Maze (Feat. Dumbfoundead, MYK): “Map the Soul” reference! And here comes the piano. Did you notice? English! Thank you for that, Dumbfoundead. ACTUALLY, with MYK being featured too, I predict a totally English song. Yeah, here comes MYK. Ahh, I love Korean the best, but it’s nice to have a song that you can understand without working at it. TABLO BRINGS WORDPLAY! Love it. “Quarterback” vs. “quarter back”? I am easily impressed, in case you failed to notice before. I like the “drifting” feel of the music here. You feel like you’re floating on the song.
  6. 통기타 (Skit): I have no idea what they’re saying! Sometimes I have a clue, but right now I’m definitely floundering.
  7. 트로트/Trot: You can tell that the last song was leading up to this, though! I like the guitar. So far they’ve abandoned the piano. “Trot your body~” oooooh em gee. This song is pretty fun. Even though it’s a bit amusing, it’s still listenable. But who is singing? Mithra? Teuroteuuu~
  8. Emologue: For some reason I thought this song would be a less serious track, but it’s actually quite cool. I like the flow of rhymes.
  9. Excuses (feat. MYK): ENGLISSSSSH. I wonder if every song featuring MYK will be that way? Who can complain though. I’m sure now that Epik High has started Map the Soul they are more aware than ever that they have a huge international audience. I really like this song though. It seems that They have transitioned from using piano as the “emotion,” they are now using the acoustic guitar. It serves the same purpose. Even Mithra comes into the song with a bit of English.
  10. Moonwalker: I’ll bet this song is dedicated to Michael Jackson? We’ll see. Yeah, it definitely has that feel to start out with. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s about him though. I just looked up the lyrics and wow, really heavy. I won’t analyze right now because I’m mostly hear for the sound and flow the music. For this song, it definitely has a darker, weightier sense about it than earlier tracks on the album.
  11. Breathe (Mithra’s Word) (feat. 한희정/Han Hee-jung): OH MY GOODNESS, Han Hee-jung is from Bluedawn. I love that group! Mixed with Mithra’s deep voice, this song is really nice. The music is almost nothing when you compare it to the vocals. It’s just a setting for the “instrument” of voice. It’s a very relaxed track and characteristic of Epik High. You can find a song like this on almost all of their albums, whether it’s Mithra’s word or not.
  12. Happy Birthday To Me (feat. 하동균/Ha Dong-kyun): Ohhh I love the piano here. It’s so happy. For those who don’t know, Ha Dong-kyun is from the ballad group “Wanted” and is currently serving his term in the military. I like his voice for this song; it’s contemplative and slightly rough. He uses it well here, where it’s beautifully emotional. The piano is almost like rain, putting the whole track in scenery that does it justice.
  13. Heaven (feat. MYK): Okay, so not all MYK songs are total-English tracks. You can expect English from MYK though! This song reminds me of the last song in a way. It has a similar emotional scenery, although it’s more like the sun coming out after a day of gray raininess.
  14. Owls. Shadows. Tears.: It sounds like we’re coming back to the beginning with this track, only this time the landscape has changed. Oh, and with good reason! I just realized what track this is. I really love this version. It feels colder and darker than the first track, but it’s great.
  15. Slow [e] Motion (Bonus): I haven’t listened to the first version enough to see an immediate difference, because the music is most apparent (and it’s basically the same to me). I feel like it’s darker somehow, even though the original felt like something from an action movie. It has a more “city at night” feel. Does that make sense? It’s much more haunting than the original. So far I can’t decide which track I like more, but both have me thinking this might be my favorite song from the disc. (Going back and listening to the original, this version is DEFINITELY softer. The two songs are really different! But both are amazing.)

I can’t give concluding thoughts without listening to the second disc, but for now I’ll give you a brief summary on my feelings about listening to “[e]motion.” I really feel like they did a great job keeping the songs to this theme! Almost all the songs were slow and contemplative, with some border-lining ethereal. I’m a pretty metaphoric person, and I kept thinking of landscapes for these songs. I love it when that happens. Music that can transport me means a lot, because it’s unusual for that to occur. I can’t wait to get started on the next disc. I predict that it will be a lot different, but not so removed from this part that it’s like a completely different album.

For those who were waiting for it, here are my long-winded reasons for waiting to listen to this album. They don’t make a lot of sense, but it was kind of interesting to review why I would put off enjoying something I knew I would love.

  1. Shortly after releasing this album, it was announced that DJ Tukutz was going to soon be enlisted in the army. Put two and two together and you realize that there will be no new Epik High music until at least two years from now, and even then you have to take into consideration that Tukutz is the first of the group to start his military stint. SIGH.
  2. 30 songs = huge undertaking for the reviewing process. A mini-album is a piece of cake, a 12-song album (that probably has two or three remixes) is alright, but anything beyond 20 songs is pretty daunting. Since “[e]” came out about two weeks after I transferred to an extremely difficult college (I started living on my own for the first time at that point; can you say “major adjustment”? LOL), I was kind of too busy/stressed/freaked out to put in much energy for blogging of any kind.
  3. Interestingly enough, I just passed on a ton of Kpop songs to my thirteen-year-old sister and her favorite of the bunch is Epik High. Who can blame her? These guys are amazing. This also made me realize the real reason I didn’t want to listen to this album yet was because I didn’t want to waste it. When you like something this much, you can just flippantly listen. When I had no time and little interest in reviewing, I knew I couldn’t do it yet. That’s why I’m taking on this now, while I’m sick in bed without distractions. Hurrah! Also, it’s a great first post for 2010, eh?
4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2010 4:01 pm

    Awesome review! I’ve only listened to the second half of the album, and it’s pretty amazing. 😀 No one can beat Epik High. Tablo is a genius. Too bad Tukutz will be gone for a little while…

  2. qoobie23 permalink
    January 3, 2010 8:33 pm

    Happy new year! Nice layout, very clean and the orange is nice ^^

    I love Epik High, definitely top 5 korean artist in my books, but I felt slightly let down with [e] as an overall package.

    I have never been a fan of “double disk / themed” albums as in most cases, if you cut the more average/mediocre tracks of each disk and then combine the remaining songs, you get a much tighter album with little dead weight. Some examples that spring to mind include Beyonce – I am.. Sasha Fierce, Nelly – Sweat / Suit, and Epik High’s own 4th album – Remapping the Human Soul.

    There are a lot of good tracks spread across the 2 disks of [e], but as an album, they could of made it a lot tighter. I think they rushed it too much, as Tukutz was going off to the army. [e] only came out half a year after Map the Soul.

    A good album to add to my CD collection, but definitely not their best.

  3. January 3, 2010 9:10 pm

    Happy new year to you too! The layout is actually just going to be around for a few days. I was dying for something new, but I’m still working on something else. Who knows though! Maybe I’ll get lazy and keep this, because I do like it a lot.

    I can see where you’re coming from. There were definitely some songs that I liked more than others, although I never could point to one track and say it was “bad.” I really tried being more critical with my reviewing process (I always try, but this time I REALLY tried!), but I never quite found anything to pick at. I guess I personally like having more songs, even if they’re not all good. I don’t know why! Haha.

    But yes, I can see what you mean. If they had more time I agree that they probably would have tightened things up quite a bit. Considering their time constraints, I feel like they did a decent job though!


  1. Review: Epik High’s ‘[e]‘ album, part two (‘[e]nergy’) « Fangirltainment

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