DPR Ian recently dropped his third album, “Dear Insanity,” that serves as a prequel to his previous work, “Moodswings in This Order” and “Moodswings in to Order.” For those unfamiliar with DPR Ian, he’s a multifaceted talent who not only directs and edits for his label Dream Perfect Regime, but also makes his own music. His art serves as a means of coping with bipolar disorder, transforming his struggles into something beautiful.
Born as Christian Yu in Sydney, Australia, DPR Ian moved to Korea at the age of 18 to initially pursue a career in dance. He later debuted in the K-pop group C-Clown on July 19, 2012, but the group ended up disbanding on Oct. 5, 2015. After the disbandment, DPR Ian decided to embark on a new journey by founding Dream Perfect Regime, a label that has risen to prominence in Korea, specializing in R&B, indie and hip-hop genres.
With only a few songs to his name, he initially played more of a background role in the Dream Perfect Regime as the main videographer. However, he soon decided to focus on music more. His debut album, “Moodswings in This Order,” dropped in 2021; this work introduced us to MITO, a character representing his lows during bipolar episodes. In 2022, “Moodswings In To Order,” delved into his internal struggles and coexistence with MITO. With his most recent release, “Dear Insanity,” he introduces the character Mr. Insanity, representing his manic highs during episodes. Through meticulously crafted music videos, DPR Ian transforms his life’s challenges into cinematic masterpieces.
Personally, DPR Ian’s previous albums have been no-skip albums for me, but for new listeners, his music needs to be acclimated to since it’s so unique and out-there. This is especially true of his newest album, “Dear Insanity,” where there were some questionable sound choices made for a few tracks.
The album kicks off with “Famous Last Words,” a theatrical introduction featuring a letter exchange between Mr. Insanity and MITO. It blends strings, dramatic percussion and electric guitar, immersing listeners into a captivating experience.
“Welcome to the Other Side,” the second track, blends strings, synths and emotive vocals, transitioning into an electric sound with tribal undertones, evoking a battle cry.
The track “Don’t Go Insane,” has an accompanying music video that truly depicts what insanity feels like. It offers a rich mix of organ, synth, whistling, strings and piano. Despite the innovation, this is one of the tracks that does have some interesting sound choices near the end, which is why it isn’t a favorite of mine. For example, the inclusion of heavy breathing at the end of the song, though theatrical, may feel awkward to some listeners.
The fourth track of the album is “Bad Cold.” In this track, not much was going on musically, and overall it had a lot of similar sounds heard in the previous tracks. Because of this, the song is good for a casual listen but doesn’t stand out.
“So I Danced,” the fifth track, was the second pre-release track that was paired with some amazing visuals and matched the sounds you hear in the song at a given moment. The track starts with strings and gradually introduces Spanish guitar, before it transitions into a dark, theatrical second half with sounds of thunder, operatics and dramatic strings. Because of the switch-up, the track is a stand-out.
“Peanut Butter & Tears,” the first pre-release track and the sixth track in the album, offers a dreamy sound perfect for a relaxing escape into a fantasy world. Due to this, the track is another stand-out for me.
Closing the album, “Violet Crazy” has an indie feel to it with slower instrumentals and vocals, making it the perfect choice for a calm moment after the intensity of some of the other tracks in the album.
Overall, “Dear Insanity” maintains the no-skip album status that DPR Ian’s previous albums have held, but minor sound choices in certain tracks prevent it from reaching perfection.