South Korean singer, songwriter, and producer Def. – known to many as JAY B and JAY B of GOT7 – has released his first EP, LOVE. (via Warner Music Korea), on January 26.
As Def., he has released several mixtapes on SoundCloud, all highly appreciated by fans and critics in the Korean R&B scene. Def’s mixtapes are diaries, each narrating emotions that get it exactly right. Def. explores romance and all the stages of a relationship and their hardships, without sugar-coating them.
Def.’s new release LOVE. is another quest about one of the strongest feelings that ambush someone’s head, heart, and senses: love.
The EP consists of six tracks produced by öffshore members Royal Dive, Mirror Boy, LEON, JUNNY, Def., and Saimon. LEON features on the track ‘AGAIN’ and JUNNY on ‘바보같이 (LIKE A FOOL)’. LOVE. narrates different love stories from being completely and hopelessly a fool in love to one-sided and unrequited love.
“AGAIN’ featuring LEON, opens the EP by reminiscing a past love that can’t be forgotten with Def. singing in a hushed tone over an R&B rhythm that gives off a mixed emotion vibe. The lyrics express the desire to want to go back to that love and try again “I want to go back following the blurry memories / I feel like you’re still next to me / Even though it’s a dream” and “I want to go back to you / Give me one more chance / With the same eyes as before / Will you look at me? Baby”.
The synth-based beat in ‘왜그래? (WHY?)’ makes the song more playful but still sensual, with laid-back vocals that feel like Def. is asking himself why this love interest is acting in this way.
‘I JUST WANNA KNOW’ could be seen as the follow-up to ‘왜그래? (WHY?)’. As Def. mentioned, the song is more about a positive fight, when someone cares about the other person – the love interest – and wants to know where they stand in the relationship. Over a jazzy melody with a splash of R&B, Def.’s vocals are soft yet create a sense of desperation when singing “I just wanna know” through the song.
In ‘바보같이 (LIKE A FOOL)’ featuring JUNNY, the duo’s voices complement each other exquisitely – as fans have been able to appreciate and love in other features from the two artists. The song’s rhythm has a relaxed flavour that lulls you, while the duo sings about being foolishly in love.
‘WANT U’ has that ‘foreign artists’ rhythm’ melody, reminding listeners of songs by MONSUNE or Nick Mono – artists who JAY B played during his radio show “JAY B’s R&B” on KBS Radio. The song is refreshing and warm at the same time, like walking in a park on a sunny spring day and having your hair brushed by a slightly fresh breeze. The lyrics state the desire to be all the time with the other person, “Flowers bloom when spring comes / You want to walk, baby? / Actually, I just need to be with you”. Def. plays with vocals in this cut, a high tempo in the chorus, and a mid-low tempo on the rest of the song.
The EP comes to a closure with ‘SUNSET WITH YOU’, a lo-fi and highly sentimental and mellow song. Def.’s honey-like vocals make the song even more relaxing; listeners should feel and understand LOVE. with this track. The song is paired with a music video that explains and gives closure to the stories in LOVE.
In the video, we follow Def. in various locations and situations: walking on the beach with a film camera (“Engrave our names in the sand”), taking a bus ride, and turning pages of a notebook (“Put our stories on the paper”), and walking in a gloomy forest with his film camera, while reminiscing meeting the significant other after a long time and feeling sentimental about the time spent together.
LOVE. and ‘SUNSET WITH YOU’ have found success in the charts worldwide upon release. The Ep charted #1 in 53 countries on the iTunes Top Albums Chart, #1 on the US iTunes R&B Albums Chart, peaked #4 on the US iTunes Album Chart and debuted #1 on both Worldwide and European iTunes Album Chart. The single was #1 in 31 countries on the iTunes Top Songs Chart and charted #1 on Korea’s Genie Top 200 Chart.
With LOVE. Def. has written another fundamental manual (or self-help book) about the powerful emotion that is love.