“Oh! My Goddess” is the first single from the album which I particularly really love. I find it quite interesting how this song was actually entitled after one of my favorite anime, Oh My Goddess! (featuring Keiichi and Belldandy). This debuted on the Philippine airwaves through the music video that aired on MYX Music Channel. And all the hype about Seohyun from Girl’s Generation starring in the video aside, “Oh My Goddess” is actually a good example of Korean Pop Rock. The song kicks off with a particularly ear-catching intro that features vocoder-enhanced background voices. With its unique mix of synthesized sounds and powerful drum beats, this creates a pretty impressive harmony that powerfully builds up to an explosive chorus with a drum riff that anyone would love to sing and dance to. It’s also the perfect song for K-Pop fans looking for a song that seems comfortably familiar enough to let them explore new musical paths.
The second track, “Let’s Play”, is actually quite stellar in its Funk Rock musicality – driven by a guitar rhythm and instrumentation that is quite reminiscent of American band Maroon 5. I think the texture of the song is similar to that of “Makes Me Wonder”. Its throbbing synthesized sounds provide a welcome instead of intrusive tonality to the song. But what I really like about this track is how the powerful vocals never seem to be drowned out by the beat of the music (as can be the case oftentimes with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine). Thus, Typhoon’s voice becomes the perfect instrument to deliver the song’s story of a man fed up with his ‘wandering’ girlfriend.
The third cut from the album, “Jagiyah” is a serious contender for my favorite track in the album. This Pop Rock song is about a man who longs for his “honey” or “Jagiyah”. What could have been a very mopey I-miss-you-poor-me song was sensitively and beautifully crafted to capture the poignancy of a relationship that has ended. I like how the instrumentation is sparse (practically acoustic) at certain points to simply let Typhoon’s voice carry the nuances of emotions instead of relying on the harmony to do it. And even when the heavy and rock-driven parts finally fire up, there is still a delicate touch – as if the heavy guitar and drum beats are actually part of the emotional outburst. Coupled with excellent lyrics punctuated by Jagiyah – it’s the perfect song for lonely rainy days.
“Rush”, the fourth track in the album is another Funk Rock pleaser. I’m a bit torn about this one since the lyrics is supposed to be about a guy trying to act cool and nonchalant after a break-up while driving his car at night. If I don’t tune out the meaning of the lyrics, it can be a bit flimsy at times and even annoying at others. I’m also not a huge fan of the falsettos here. It simply lacks that delicate power and character that makes it work for vocalists like Adam Levine (again the Maroon 5 comparison).
The fourth song is a refreshing break in this album. “Everlasting Story” is a stirring Rock Ballad with beautiful string and piano instrumentation. This almost orchestra-feel to the song is given a contemporary twist though with synthesizers and electric guitars at the right moments. If there was one song that I can keep on auto-repeat from the album this has to be it. Typhoon’s powerful voice is back to its pure form here. No vocal acrobatics thru falsettos or half voices – just darn good singing. Overall, this makes for a dramatic and cinematic (to borrow a phrase from Loveholic) touch – giving it a grandness typically associated with movie and drama OSTs. This is perfect considering that the song is about how first love lasts forever. Such a bold and dramatic theme deserves nothing less.
Finally, the album closes with “Running My Way”. What I love about this song is how it is actually similar to the story of “Rush”. It is also about a guy saying that he is letting go of the girl he loves. But instead of the bitterness and fake tonality of “Rush”, it adeptly captures the true spirit of freedom from letting someone go. I love how the fast tempo of the song, the addition of rap vocals at the right parts, plus playful instrumentation makes the story of letting go something celebratory. Still there is a palpable touch of sadness that can be felt when the electric guitar solo kick in at certain points and when the instrumentation becomes less busy. I also like how Typhoon knows how to control his voice so that it remains powerful without being overpowering – it makes the song’s message of letting go as something sad but not something to be sad about believable and truly palpable.
Overall, I’ll give this album an 8 out of 10. It has a diverse and delicious offering of songs that are different and enjoyable enough to withstand repeated listening without making the cohesiveness of the album suffer. It’s definite must have for Pop-Rock enthusiasts especially if you’re into groups like CN Blue and FT Island like me and a must try for K-Pop fans who want something different and more fulfilling than the usual K-Pop song.
The question is, when is Universal Records finally releasing the local version of this album? I’ve been looking forward to this in a such a long while that I finally got my copy elsewhere. I hope this gets distributed locally soon. Korean music lovers in the Philippines are definitely missing out on a lot.
Album: Oh My Goddess!
Genre: Pop Rock, Funk Rock, Rock Ballad
1. 오! 나의 여신님 (Oh! My Goddess)
2. Let’s Play
3. 자기야 (Jagiyah)
5. 없는 사람 (Everlasting Story)
6. 태양의 노래 (Running My Way)