SONG REVIEW: Taeyang – Vibe (feat. Jimin)

Big name collaborations are nothing new in the world of K-pop but sometimes the pairing is so monumental that it illicit a near otherworldly sense of excitement from both fans and casual listeners alike. Such is the case with Taeyang’s newest single Vibe a track that heralds his return to the scene after almost 5 years and pairing him with Jimin, a man who himself needs no real introduction. It feels like the combination of two k-pop titans, each monoliths of their respective generations coming together for a rather monumental collaboration. And though the weight of expectation does shackleVibe‘s overall potency, I’m pleased to say that I vibe with Vibe quite a lot.

Opening with Taeyang’s instantly beguiling vocals, Vibe wastes no time hitting the mark, lacing a gorgeous melody over a simple yet instantly effective RnB soundscape that perfectly compliments the performance. Taeyang’s vocals are always a treat and maybe it’s because he’s been away for so long but to my ears, they sound especially great here. The sheer amount of emotion and texture this man can wring from even the most simple of melodies is truly stunning so when matched with one that has some bite, you know you’re in for a treat. This gorgeous introduction leads way for the tracks percussive base, one that feels oddly refreshing in an era where higher pitched hi-hats are the predominant soundscape. The New Jack Swing elements are also another welcome surprise, popping in at just the right moments to deliver some quick fire bursts of optimistic energy that lend really well to Vibe‘s overall (I hate to say it but…) vibe.

It’s wonderfully rhythmic, giving the entire track an added sense of bite when compared to similar tracks. And though it’s always hard to compete with Taeyang, Jimin more than holds his own here, working as a great addition to the second verse onwards. His higher, more feminine tone works as a great contrast to Taeyang’s giving Vibe so much more texture in the vocal department, something which no doubt will come to help its longevity.

If anything, I wish that Vibe had a stronger, more magnetic chorus. Sure this one works just fine but given a more interesting melody or arrangement, we could have had a real standout. Almost everything else here works so wonderfully that the solid if unspectacular centrepiece just feels a little out of place. It’s a little to one note, stalling some of the great energy built during the verses in a way that initially comes across as a little disappointing. I can see it growing on me but as it stands, it’s the one thing preventing me from fully embracing a track that otherwise stands as a surprising early 2023 highlight.

Verses: 9

Chorus: 7

Production: 9

Performance: 9

Final Rating8.5 / 10

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