Review

Song Review: Jackson Wang (GOT7) – Okay

What is it about Chinese releases from k-pop stars being consistently terrible? The Chinese music industry is so restrictive to Western listeners that it’s hard to accurately gauge the country’s pop climate, but all c-pop can’t be this bad, right?

As with Jackson’s last solo endeavor (the embarrassing Papillon), I feel like I have to preface this review by restating that I adore him as a k-pop personality and idol. But when it comes down to it, some artists just aren’t meant to embark on a solo career. That’s nothing to be ashamed about. Jackson has so many talents in so many avenues. So far, solo hip-hop star is not one of them. New single Okay may be less cringey and over-the-top as Papillon, but I’d argue that it’s just as bad — and maybe even more unlistenable.

The moody track opens somewhat promisingly, with a hint at Jackson’s untapped potential as a vocalist. But as soon as the droning melody forces him to perform in a more powerful way, the limits of his tone are quickly pushed and the song devolves into a shout-fest devoid of dynamics or nuance. The repetitive “I’m feeling good right now” hook feels lazy and one-note, crying out for a guest vocalist to bring a sense of texture to the mix. But Okay‘s most unforgivable element is its downright oppressive, dirge-like atmosphere. It’s not that every song has to be joyful and bubbly and upbeat, and I get that this is written about a break-up, but Okay doesn’t even leverage its moodiness for dramatic or interesting effect. It’s simply a claustrophobic, depressing piece of music without the skill or imagination to transform that emotion into anything compelling.

 Hooks 5
 Production 4
 Longevity 3
 Bias 3
 RATING 3.75

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4 thoughts on “Song Review: Jackson Wang (GOT7) – Okay

  1. Do you perhaps think that the song could be saved (in part) if he sang the entire song, rather than the husky shouting.

    Or perhaps even if he rapped in an alternate way. The way he sounds now, seems like it belongs in a different musical genre- rather than hiphop (maybe heavy metal or scream?!?).

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    • Perhaps. The problem with Jackson’s solo music is that it’s trying so hard to be something that I don’t think he is. I’m not sure when this husky style of rap/singing started with him, but it’s become an increasingly ineffective (and cliche) performance style, both in his solo work and GOT7’s material.

      If he wants to give this solo thing a go, I think he needs to work with completely different collaborators.

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  2. Once upon a time, Jackson said something along the lines of “I’m not a rapper, I’m a person who raps.” He recognized that rap was just his position in Got7’s lineup. O, where did that sweet self-awareness go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. More than not being cut out for a soloist, it’s more that Jackson isn’t cut out to be a songwriter, particularly for his own material. There are plenty of *ahem* less than very talented rappers and vocalists who can deliver a good song, but that hinges on someone writing and producing a song that takes their abilities into account and maximizes their potential. Jackson doesn’t seem to be able to do this for himself. If he wants to continue writing his own music, he’s going to need to spend some honest introspection first.

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