Three-member group Phantom returns with their new album "Phantom Theory."
I loved their previous album "Phantom City." The songs on the album were an easy listen and they made a good balance on what works for all three members and their styles. However, this album was pretty disappointing in comparison to their first.
Starting off with "Hide & Chic," I still feel like Kiggen (member of Phantom and also one of the primary producers of Phantom's songs) needs to get over the Far East Movement phase in his life by not adding autotune and making it go up & down in every note on the music scale. He's already received criticisms before about "Hole In Your Face" sounding a little like Rocketeer before, so let's cross fingers that he won't do it in the future (a girl can hope). The beat in the beginning definitely catches your ear and then it becomes a real hot mess after that. It was honestly the wrong people working with the wrong beat in my opinion. I also feel that this is their song to promote Microdot, younger brother of Sanchez, who could possibly sign under Brand New Music after some recognition.
In the case of "Dutch Pay," it's the opposite of the prior song in which the beat was a wrong fit. The lyrics is a fun read, coming from a guy's perspective of wanting to split pay between him and a girl versus the guy always paying on his own. Phantom always has clever lyrics which is what got them noticed before through their "19 Song," a catchy compilation of lyrics from songs that were deemed 19+ by MOGEF. I guess I thought this would be more fitting with a gentle beat like "Seaweed Soup Song" so this song was more so of a pass for me.
I love Sanchez's vocals here in "The Things I Can Do." He holds a very rare kind of vocals because you hardly hear male vocals sing in high pitch, let alone this high of a pitch (Junggigo often hits high notes at peaks of his songs and Bumkey, fellow artist under Brand New Music, sings in high pitch but still a few keys below Sanchez). A random fact, but I started liking Phantom because of Hanhae but I feel like his rapping wasn't really applied very well here (no comment on Kiggen's rapping because I never have comments on it), so that was a little disappointing. You can pretty much listen to this as Sanchez's solo song.
Everything was going well in "Fingernail" until I heard someone who sounds like Dok2 and then I grew confused. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be Kiggen making his voice sound like Dok2 or if this Dok2 soundalike is the "HJ" person featuring in the track, but regardless this is probably my favorite from the album so far. Guitar riff always wins me over and it was nicely played when Phantom all toned down for the song, not making things dramatic and messy.
Oh no, I wanted to believe the Dok2 soundalike from "Fingernail" was the hopeful HJ person but it's back here in "I'll Talk Plainly" so I'm 99.9% positive it's Kiggen...moving on (because Dok2 is never worth the subject), the beat is too chaotic and spazzy for my liking, but Hanhae's rap suits the beat (he's sampled similar chaotic, loud beats for some of the mixtapes in his tracks before) so that part worked out. As I'm live-reviewing this while I listen to it, I'm on the verge of turning this off because if goes back to Kiggen and he suddenly shifted from Dok2 to G-Dragon (my two most favorite people ever). The song has hit rock-bottom where everything and everything went from a decently obnoxious song to a low class "One of a Kind" remix.
Last but not least, their title track "Like Cho Yong Pil." Here's a link to the song without all of the cringe-worthy acting for a straight-through listen. The organization of the song and the buildup of it reminds me of their debut song "Burning" but a much softer version of it. The song also has no affiliation with senior artist Cho Yong Pil with the exception of their one line saying "I'm never going to change and continue singing like Cho Yong Pil" and talks about their love story. A decent listen for a title track that Brand New Music can abuse with press releases about how they respect Cho Yong Pil and gather interest from an older generation than just teens and people in their 20s. Hitting two birds with one stone, but not hitting my birdie of approval.
Not their best but you can't expect much from a three-member group in which one of the members loves Far East Movement and samples it in everything he produces (even during his Hybrefine days). It's a good thing Brand New Music is smart in using a softer-key song for them to promote and I will wait another few months for them to release something hopefully better than what I just spent an hour writing about here.