Review

Song Review: Epik High – Lovedrunk (ft. Crush)

Epik High have been a staple in the Korean music scene for as long as I can remember, and their brand of emotive hip-hop has a timeless feel that is immune from trends. Over the past few years, their title tracks have taken on a more melancholic vibe, and that culminates in the downbeat Lovedrunk (술이 달다). It’s their first single since leaving YG Entertainment, and hearkens back to the indie sensibilities that first made them popular.

Now, when you combine melancholy with hip-hop, you’re never going to get something that will set The Bias List on fire. It’s just not what I’m looking for when it comes to music, and there’s little that can be done about that. My favorite Epik High tracks are upbeat and energetic, but that was not the modus operandi for this new mini album. Lovedrunk is incredibly moody, anchored by an impressive feature from go-to chorus-crooner Crush.

The song opens with one of the most gorgeous melodies I’ve heard all year. I kind of wish this segment was Lovedrunk’s chorus, but an over-reliance might have blunted its effect. Instead the track’s hook is more ethereal and subtle, underlined by a bit of guitar that gives it great texture. Unsurprisingly, Lovedrunk’s hip-hop verses are strong, delivered with the kind of passion we’ve come to expect from Epik High. Its atmospheric, piano-and-strings-driven production gets the job done, even if it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. The guys definitely have their niche, and Lovedrunk is another solid addition to their distinctive discography.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

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One thought on “Song Review: Epik High – Lovedrunk (ft. Crush)

  1. I disagree! Not about this song, which is kind of boring and really not up to standard for a group as good as Epik High, but about everything else. I might have mentioned this before, but I’m a massive Epik High fan. I stan Mithra Tablo and Tukutz as hard as I stan Sweetune, seriously. Why do I like them so much? Obviously, the lyricism is top notch, but that’s never been enough for me. Harder songs with no melody like “No Thanxxx” and “Mr. Doctor,” and “Nocturne” are very obviously up my alley, and so is the pop sensibility of many of their middle album lead singles “1분 1초,” “One,” and “Fan.” but what about all of those soft beats and balladry? JYHB hates soft beats and balladry. The answer is in the arrangement. EH always committed themselves to a superior sense of texture and pulse. Umbrella? Spoiler? Coffee? Those aren’t actually slow songs, but they seem like ballads because of the “general ballad tone”. The speed requires a succinct and and unembellished melody with no meandering, which is a big part makes them so effective. Lots of hip hop ballads use very heavy layers of muted keys, piano and strings… very boring choices. EH always ditched the extended jazz chords for more tonally distinct harmony and replaced boring textures with interesting synth sounds, well done counterpoint violin instead of String Mush, and brisk chord changes that people actually want to listen to. As a result, their ballads and melodic songs are really, really great. “Lovedrunk” (and “Home Is Far Away,” for that matter) are slow, use really generic textures, and have relatively plodding arrangements. They’re still better-written than a lot of boring KHH ballads, but they could have been so much better! Epik High have a whole career of engaging melancholic hip hop songs to prove that melancholic hip hop doesn’t have to be boring, downtempo, and “soothing.” Considering that the average Epik High album is basically a masterclass on How Not To Suck At Ballads, this new title track is a bit disappointing.

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