It took lots of scratching out, revising and editing to write the review for 2PM’s Japanese third album Genesis of 2PM. After listening to the album for the first time, I immediately wrote down my impression. But then I decided to re-write everything because after several more listenings and discussions with fellow Hottests, I changed my mind about some aspects of the album.
It’s obvious that Genesis of 2PM was intended to be a grand record, as we can see from the album jacket and the outfits the members wear in it. The album has also been promoted massively. Newspapers, huge posters in the middle of the city, pillars on train stations, special drinks: all are decorated to promote Genesis of 2PM. This huge promotion has built a certain expectation but does the album live up to it? Answering this question is, of course, not easy since fans have different levels of expectation. My own answer is, no, this album does not meet its expectation, and this review will elaborate that answer.
If you listen to the songs randomly, you won’t find any problem since each song in GO2PM has precious elements to listen to. The first single Give Me Love combines dance beat with guitar sound, and the result is a very stylish song. Then another single Winter Games wins for its emotion and construction. However, if you try to follow the flow and see it as a unity with one solid concept, this is where the trouble appears.
Following the formula of LO2PM with The Legend (and way back in 01:59 with My Heart), GO2PM begins with Taecyeon’s monologue in Genesis. Thunder, rain and choir build this epic atmosphere. Just imagine that the grand door in the cover is opening wide, and you’re taken to go through that door. That’s how Genesis works for me. The grand image promised in Genesis exists in songs like Merry Go Round and Lasting Heart. Composed by Wooyoung, Merry Go Round is a rock song that has an interesting transition from verses to reffrain. Moreover, it’s always nice to hear Jun K’s rap. I just wish that real drum set was used instead of drum machine. It would bring bigger audio effects. Meanwhile, Lasting Heart is a huge song adorned by a collosal orchestra. It’s perfect for an anime soundtrack.
Unfortunately, Falling in Love, Only Girl, Beat of Love, I Want You, Step by Step and Stay Here sound too distant from the other songs. I love all songs that I just mentioned but to me they are too sweet and groovy for such a heavy concept. Let’s take Only Girl as an example. With its brass section and beautiful melody, this song sounds closer to Grown. I Want You is an exciting track too. The marching drum sound for the intro is lovely , then the song elevates gradually into an upbeat track. Although in terms of rhythm I Want You is very dynamic (the verses, the reffrain, the bridge and the rap have different beats), the transformation goes smoothly. But back to my previous argument, these songs don’t connect with the vision of the album.
Despite the absence of an integrated concept, Genesis of 2PM actually contains strong and remarkable tracks. Although the 80s-ish beat in Next Generation is a bit tacky, the song is enjoyable. I still think Stay Here is very charming with its New Order-influence. It has a gentle flow, right emotion and tender piano sounds. Stay Here deserves more attention since it is such a beauty. The disco rhythm in Falling in Love can also be found in Beat of Love. It’s a happy song that will make you jig. My favourite part of the track is the reffrain, in which Wooyoung does his part nicely. Surprisingly, there isn’t any pure ballad song (which seems to be a must for any pop album) in Genesis of 2PM. We have the heart-comforting Beautiful Day though, and it’s fine enough to close the album.
Probably dramatic concepts are suitable for Japanese market. Nevertheless, I personally think for their next Japanese album 2PM should make things less pretentious. Embracing and developing the simple and mature sound will be a significant accomplishment for their career in Japan. It takes a skillful art to be modest and outstanding at the same time, but seeing what they’ve achieved in Stay Here and Give Me Love, 2PM only need a little practice to master it.