Buzzy R&B newcomer Dean has always had a sort of omnipresence in South Korea’s pop landscape. He was just never at the forefront of it, choosing to write hits for the idol likes of EXO to f(x) instead.
With the release of 130 Mood: TRBL, the 23-year-old singer makes the move from being behind the boards to standing behind the microphone. The result is nothing short of impressive.
Dean’s style is one that’s rooted in smooth R&B – think Frank Ocean’s alternative flair with a touch of accessible K-pop.
On the more carnal numbers, Kendrick Lamar-like sex appeal shines through. Pour Up – a collaboration with rap maestro Zico – features gritty verses over warped bass.
Meanwhile, the tumultuous Bonnie & Clyde samples some pretty complex beats. But Dean’s honeyed vocals are at their peak on the more romantic numbers.
What 2 Do and D (Half Moon) are sweet odes that work within the trappings of uber smooth R&B. And over on falsetto-drenched 21, Dean closes this brilliant seven-track collection with infectious soul and funk.
130 Mood: TRBL