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Album Review: Psy Swings For The Fences On The '7th Album' His First Full-Length In Over 3 Years [AUDIO]

By Jesse Lent | December 01, 2015 07:58 PM EST


You have to "stay in your lane" Alicia Key's pop star alter ego Skye Summers says on last week's episode of "Empire," or else your fans will desert you.

The 37-year-old South Korean rapper Psy will probably always be best known as the goofy guy dancing in the "Gangnam Style" music video, the most viewed clip in the history of the Internet. That will happen when billions of people see you in something. And he could have easily stayed in that lane, turning out slapstick techno-rap for the rest of his career.

Instead, on his first full-length since July of 2012, the "7th Album," released Tuesday, Psy throws away the script and adopts a strategy of never being afraid to depart from the party atmosphere momentarily, to hammer home a great hook.

That's not to say Psy doesn't throw in enough of the hyped up sound he is best known for, to satisfy his more demanding fans, on songs like "DADDY" featuring 2NE1 frontwoman CL (with its ubiquitous yet hilarious over-the-top video) and "ROCKnROLLbaby" with Black Eyed Peas rapper

But even at these peak energy moments, there is a trace of melancholic introspection which pervades the rest of the album even more so, almost like a bachelor shaken out of his funk by a friend in town who forces him out to into the nightlife. His sadness is still there, just dissipated in the haze of the dance floor.

And most surprisingly, these are the best moments of Psy's "7th Album."

The rap he delivers on "Dream" featuring Kim "Xia" Junsu of JYJ channeling his musical theater background to produce an unusual '80s homage power ballad, is some of his best work on the mic yet. It's exciting to see Psy so willing to drop his persona and to make noticeable improvements in his versatility as an MC.

The best moment of the "7th Album" is also its most somber, as Jun In Kwon contributes a gorgeous reggae-infused vocal on "The Day Will Come." While tracks like the album opener "Dance Jockey" and Ahjussi Swag" featuring Dynamic Duo's Gaeko offer a glimpse to a more organic direction for Psy's music to go in, all while maintaining its keyboard-generation punch.

Sure, Psy could have stayed in his lane and risked nothing. But this is an artist who was honing his sound for more than a decade before "Gangnam Style" and though he may still not be afraid to play the fool for a few laughs, at his center he really is just an electronic dance music aficionado in search of a great groove.

For anyone more concerned with style than substance, that version of Psy is a lot easier to like.

Listen to Psy's latest release, the "7th Album," in its entirety RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  Psy's 7th Album, 7th album, K-Pop, Gangnam Style, kpop, Kpop Stars, YG Entertainment


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