Archive for Album-Song Review

Solar Album Shines

It’s been two straight weeks (actually on the 3rd week since i drafted this offline a week ago) that I have been playing Taeyang’s 1st full album entitled ‘Solar’.  I thought I need to listen to the album again and again to know which song will be classified as the ‘IT’ song(s) for me.  When an artist I like or following releases an album, I normally choose the song that I like most.  For some reasons I feel like it’s a must to declare which is my favorite.  More often, the carrier single stands out and when it hit the mainstream quite well the song becomes the best in the album for the fans.  I sometimes feel that this becomes unfair to the other songs in the album, I feel like saying hey there are other songs worth listening in this album and not the carrier single alone.  So I take time listening to the album straight for weeks and get to feel which one will grow on me.

When I heard the audio upload of the carrier single I Need a Girl over at You Tube, I instantly thought the song is quite refreshing for Taeyang.  Since he started working on solo activities he released songs with strong R&B feel…the heavy ones.  나만 바라봐 (Naman Parabwa) and 키도 (Kido) left that impression on me.   Then he released Where U At and Wedding Dress which still have that strong R&B feel.  So to be listening to I Need a Girl was something refreshing to my ear.   To be honest I did not feel strongly about this song until I saw the MV and when he performed it live.  Seeing how Taeyang performed, I just mumbled he did it again.  The same great performance and charisma he showed with the live performances of 나만 바라봐 and Wedding Dress.  With this in mind, I must say Taeyang is really one excellent performer.  I may not share the same views with the other about this song but what is important is how Taeyang’s performances made this song something that I would eventually like.  This is what a good artist is made of, isn’t it?

Another song that gets to be performed once in a while during this album promotion is the 3rd single, Just a Feeling.  It has slightly faster beat than I Need a Girl and this song really got me singing yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah… Honestly I just realized singing along with Taeyang as the song plays. The beat of the song will also surely get you doing some body moves =) I can almost imagine that this song can be good for encore performances.  It’s quite infectious at least on me.

What captured my heart the most was incidentally the last song in the album which is Take It Slow.  I remember 1TYM having a song with the same title.  The music alone is pleasing to my ears and with Taeyang’s vocals, the song left an impression of wanting to listen for more.  It was sung a little soulful and Taeyang’s sweet-sexy voice made it perfect.  There is not much of power vocals but purely passion and feelings in every lyric that came out from Youngbae’s voice.   Taeyang is someone who sounds good when singing with heavy breathing.   I easily get irritated with singers who abuses this singing style but maybe because of the nature of Taeyang’s voice,  every breath that I hear sounds like a piece of his soul.  In one of his interviews, he mentioned that all the songs in the album are his story; I really wonder who might be the subject of this song.  Who is this person that Taeyang is asking to take things slow.  So to me the best song in the album is this song.  Not for any music technicality science, but the mere fact that it touches my heart and emotion as I listen to it.  No wonder I keep on playing this song first whenever I choose Solar Album in my iPod. Its automatic, my finger taps on this song first.

I did not include Where U At and Wedding Dress as part of the songs to choose from, as my most favorite, these songs were released digitally ahead with the other songs and they had their equal special space in my heart and ears ha ha ha.  I think Wedding Dress is one of the most abused songs in my iPOD along with Baby I’m Sorry from the Hot album.

I enjoyed listening to Move as well,  the song gives me that ghetto feel.   The beat is nice and I find my head swaying with the song every time I hear it.  It may not be a carrier single type of song but it’s certainly a good piece of song to listen to.

Songs which may not be my most favorite but they are song you will not skip either on the album are Breakdown and Before You Sleep.  Let me put it this way; I would rather listen to this song than some idol’s carrier single these days.

You’re My seems to be a bit short, but I love listening to it too as I can feel a lot of emotions from Taeyang’s voice.  I just think some of his falsettos in this song may no longer be repeatable live or may not be consistent when performed live.

Overall, I like this album than the first one because I can certainly listen to all songs (including the intro) for start to the end.  I seldom buy CDs of artists may it be Korean or American music because I only buy albums that I can listen to at least half of the songs in the entire track list. So far, Wheesung is the only Korean singer that I have been following consistently with all his albums on my CD shelf.  Now, I think I will be following another artist other than Wheesung and I am certain it’s Taeyang.

Before posting this review I finally received my Solar album the ‘real thing’ last week  *ahem* the deluxe edition from K-POP Mall.  I thought I was going to wait for another week but it came. The album is loaded and since the CD is packaged differently instead of the usual album jacket from a regular CD, you get to have this sort of booklet type album information.   I can’t help but smile on this picture, isn’t he cute and sexy in this shot?

Surely I will be dosing myself with his songs, I read he is having a concert this September in Seoul…Too bad I will be there not until December so maybe I will just be lucky enough to buy a DVD of his concert, I hope YG releases one.

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Taeyang’s Hot Album – A Review

Taeyang has concluded the promotion of his Hot album last week.  Now the fans (including me of course) will have to say goodbye to his live performances.  I must say he did a good job in promoting his album well. Getting three (3 ) INKIGAYO awards is a feat for someone who just recently gone solo.

The Hot Album shined just like the 태양

The Hot Album shined just like 태양

The sun has finally found his place under the sun.  In case you are not aware 태양 (Taeyang) means sun in Korea.  Taeyang becoming a certified idol has no reason to feel little and shy.   Now talking about his mini-album… with all my biases over R&B, I love this album.   Taeyang’s voice suits R&B and he raps well too.  Each of his song has a distinct R&B ingredient to it.

When I heard of his this solo album… i was a little afraid he’s jumping to something that he is not ready with.  I like his voice, in fact had I not heard that Fool’s Only Tears opening in YG’s performance at the SBS  Awards, I will not know 빅뱅 (Big Bang).  I was surprised how prepared he was.  YG did a good job in giving Taeyang the right image for the theme of his album.  His real personality contradicts the album theme.  He gave hotness a different meaning.  Being the most shy in Big Bang, it was a revelation how he could carry out that hot image.

The album talks about relationship cycle not just the happy ‘in-love’ days but of pain and cheating as well.  The album overall is suggestive of the different angles of a relationship.

The two songs with MVs launched instantly became a favorite.  When I saw him perform live… the more I was impressed with Taeyang.  His vocals was a bit shaky during initial performances but later on he became polished and more confident.  나만 바라봐 (Naman Parabwa) remains to be one of my favorites.  This is the song that attracts listener with its beat and choreography but at the same time ridiculed with its lyrics.  Funny how some fans hate a song simply because the lyrics doesn’t seem to appear positive.  I just think the lyrics of the song speaks of the double standards that the society has in relation to man-woman relationship.  Guys cheat ok but girls who cheats get crucified by moralist.  The song simply expresses how a guy wishes her girl to be pure  despite his ocassional flirting and cheating.

I also enjoy listening to 기도 (Prayer) but the MV amazes me more.   Kido heavily used computer synthesis to create an effect that distorts voice to sound like a rounded echo.  I don’t see anything wrong with that as long as it is well crafted.  Some song doesn’t even have substantial amount of lyrics. 

However, Baby I’m Sorry is the song that I like most in the album.  I love the rhythm and arrangement of this song.  The song has a little resemblance with the groove of Fool’s Only Tears not just because portion of the rap part has been lifted from it but the overall rhythm of the song.  His voice is likewise smooth, light but crisp in a way… feels like he is truly sorry with his rendition.

Lately I have been listening to ‘Make Love’ as well, a song in collaboration with Kush.   I am yet to see how Taeyang will put life to this song in a actual performance but definitely the catchy beat of the song is something that my ears will root for.  Maybe least of my favorite in the Album is Sinner but despite its low appeal to me, the song though reminds me of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me a River’.

Overall, Taeyangs album has been very explorative on beats, instruments and computer aided synthesis.   I still think its a work of art, it may be very commercial with the promotional performances of Taeyang.  It cannot be denied that his preparedness physically and emotionally gave justice to every performance he made.  Since music is meant to bring out varying emotions of the listener, I’d like to think the album has been successful this way.  The six songs in the album are all worth listening and brings out a smooth kind of feeling that will make you go with the flow of the music.  I’ll surely buy the real thing when I visit Korea next year (now I sound so sure of this travel plan).

Big Bang (빅뱅) Great Live Concert

At this moment, aside from Wheesung (휘성) Big Bang is the next Korean artist that I listen to frequently.  Well they seem to be a boy band and fits the teen crowd but I love their music.  Their ‘Fool’s Only Tears’ captured what I like in an R&B song.

I was in Seoul last week, I checked out for Big Bang’s albums and bought this GREAT Live Concert CD which cost less than any of the albums of Wheesung.  Got it for only 9000윈 (won) or less than 10 US$.  I just listened to the album and looks like I am going to be hooked on it. 

All my expectations fell into places.  I never thought they could really be this good in concert.  Comparing them to a lot of boy bands from the US and Korea that I have watched perform live, i think they are far better.  I have noticed most boy bands sounds awful when they sing their song live specially at the point when harmony of voices are needed.  Now I really don’t want to categorize Big Bang as another Boy Band. They collaborate well with each other and no one is a stand out maybe because their voices have individual characters.

I feel fortunate when I buy CDs that I can listen to from track 1 to the last and this CD is one of those CDs.   While everyone is falling in love with their hit song 거짓말 (Gojimal – also known as Lies) which I happen to like too, 눈물뿐인 바보 (Nunmulppunin Pabo – Fool’s Only Tears) is still a personal favorite.  There was a little difference on the musical arrangement and it was a lot sexier than the original recorded version.   It sounded more and more R&B and has that jazzy feel as well with the sax on background.  They sound even better singing it live hands off to Taeyang, Seungri and Daesung. I really love this song. 

I also realized that this album featured solo (highlighted) performances of each members.  I got to appreaciate each of their voices listening to their respective piece.  I initially liked Taeyang but came to realized how good they are when they sing together.  Seungri truly shined on his performance of 다음 날(Daum Nal – The Day After). I specifically like the music arrangement of that song very R&B.   Curling his voice sounds so sexy for Seungri. I think he also has a future as an individual singer similar to Taeyang who performed well with ‘Ma Girl’. 

Another big surprise are the individual performances from GD and Top.  They are always rapping and in most cases a support to the songs during their performance but hearing GD sing ‘But I Love U’ rapping and singing as well –I’m impressed.  There is something about the song that sounds like tango which gave the song more attitude with GD passionately singing.  I thought he just raps but there were portion of the songs where he actually sings, i guess it was in the chorus portion and GD can sound that sweet!  Top was likewise so cool.  That big rapping voice suits Top’s looks and somehow adds beautiful contrast to his somewhat reserved personality.  The musical arrangement of his song 아무렇지 않은 척 (Amuroji Anun Chok) reminds me of black rap.  Hearing him ocasionally performing in solo is a pleasure but surely with him rapping for Big Bang gives more impact to the group’s song.

I love the musical arrangements in this album… the more that I wanted to see how they performed. Knowing Big Bang there must be a lot of choreography.  바보 (Pabo – translated as ‘Fool’) was surprisingly cool.  The song is upbeat with hint of acid jazz fused with rap/hiphop.  This song doesn’t sound boy bandish. Reminds me of 70s dance music.

I am giving this album 5 earphones for its listenability (hahaha i am coining a new term for something worth listening from start til end).  곳노래 부르고 싶은 기분이에요. 빅뱅 축하해요!