NO KIDDING is Lee Minki’s debut mini-album and it was released on August 11th, 2009.
1. Eternal Summer♠♠
3. JOUJOU (Let me see the love)♠
4. PLAY MY WAY
5. TONITE, TONITE♠♠♠
6. JOUJOU (♥MINKI Remix)
One thing you wouldn’t expect from K-Pop is awesome rock music. Another would be it being released by a first time singer, not to mention previously being an actor. Well, with NO KIDDING, I was surprised in all levels. Not only is it an exceptional example of what indie-sounding Korean rock music can sound like, but that actors too can step into the musical world without totally failing.
There’s a certain gimmick to NO KIDDING. It’s not all feel good, up-beat music, instead it’s filled with mellow, almost ethereal like calm rock songs. The only true exception would be PLAY MY WAY. While it does have an interesting instrumental, I get an 80’s vibe from it(era of which the which music I’m not fond of), and is just disgustingly executed with its lack of identity and too much priority on Minki’s vocals, which when manipulated the way they are in the rest of the songs, they don’t interfere with the listening experience, putting his only average vocals at an acceptable level.
That being my only negative thing about the album, I can only say better things about the rest of the album. The base of it all is, as I stated, mellow(almost moody), soft rock music with priority on the guitar riffs and especially the bass, while leaving Minki’s vocals as more of an addition, instead of the main element. Songs like Eternal Summer and TONITE, TONITE follow this formula, the former serving as the promotion track of the album, which isn’t a wild choice since the track is really quite great and has an unexpected chorus which while is the biggest climax in the album, still fits in with everything else and the latter being the slowest song on the release, making great use of vocal effects to give the vocals a dreamy feeling, thus fitting in with the “night theme”. DREAMING also works this way, but giving less priority to the guitar and adding a piano instead.
JOUJOU (Let me see the love) would be the only exception to everything else, it’s inclined to the more typical K-Pop sound, that being the use of synth while annulling any use of the instruments found in the prior tracks. Even so, it fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. The ♥MINKI Remix build further upon this electronic sound, granting a club like instrumental and giving even more priority to the piano, adding it to the verses and making an intro out of it.
NO KIDDING might not be for everyone however. Vocal stans will find that Minki, while having found the perfect sound to pair with his voice, will be lacking in vocal power and possibly even emotion as his voice is mostly monotone throughout the six songs. Don’t expect to find this album listenable for every situation however, it feels just right when listened to at night, driving in the dark streets. You know, stuff like that.