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Review : Alex (Clazziquai) – Vol.1 – My Vintage Romance

NAME : Vol.1 – My Vintage Romance

ARTIST : Alex (Clazziquai)

RELEASE DATE : 12th June, 2008

GENRE : Ballads, mostly…

LANGUAGE : Korean

Long-anticipated by fans of Clazziquai and ‘We Got Married’ (a Korean TV show where (random) celebrities pretend to be married to each other) alike, this album marks Alex’s solo debut.

Being a member of Clazziquai – a group whose music can be best described as versatile – ranging between the genres of electronic, jazz, house, lounge, retro and several more – Alex’s solo venture was expected to a bit more… versatile (in terms of genres) itself. However, it was unfortunately not so, and as predicted by a few – this album is mostly ballads. As a fan of Clazziquai, and of Alex, I felt quite disappointed about this myself…

But on a brighter note, Alex’s smooth voice almost makes up for it (almost, because the album would have sounded so(oooooo) much better if there had been a greater variety in the songs). And the theme of the album, I’m guessing is romance – right from the title, cover, themes in the songs etc. – which makes for a great publicity pitch, especially owing to the success of ‘AlShin’ (Alex and Shinae (an actress), who are a couple in WGM). In fact, Alex had even admitted in an interview to be reminded of Shinae during the production of ‘My Vintage Romance’.

TRACK LIST :

01 어느새
02 그대라면 [If it’s you] (Title)
03 넌 언제나 [You Always] (feat. Thomas Cook)
04 기다리게 해서 미안해요 [Sorry for Making You Wait]
05 발끝을 적시는 눈물 [Tears that wet the tip of my toes]
06 Feel Like Making Sunshine
07 깍지껴요 [Empty Shell] (feat. Gaeko from Dynamic Duo)
08 Waltz lesson (feat. whale)
09 연인 [Lover]
10 사랑하오 [I Love You]
11 기분 좋은 날 [A Good Day]
12 Daydreaming
13 Miss. Understand (feat. Simon Dominic)
14 데이지 [Daisy]
15 화분 [Flower Pot] (Bonus track)

Track by track:

Track 1 : (9/10) Slow-tempo ballad. I really like this song, because it really brings out the romantic in Alex (people who watch WGM know what I’m talking about).

Track 2 : (7/10) This is the title track for the album, but oddly enough, it doesn’t stand out so much as compared to some other tracks on the album.It tends to grow on you, though…

Track 3 : (9/10) Mid-tempo ballad – one of the best songs on the album, definitely. I can’t get it out of my head!

Track 4 : (7.5/10) Romantic ballad – reminiscent of ‘Very Hurtful Words‘ (his duet with JiSun). This is a beautiful song, with an easy melody – nice to listen to on a sleepy afternoon (it’s nice to hear most of his songs like this)…

Track 5 : (8.5/10) I like the violins playing in the background. This sounds like a typical 90’s ballad. Really grows on you, too…

Track 6 : (8/10) Alex’s vocals sound really really good on this upbeat, melodic song. Reminiscent of times gone by… actually, many of Alex’s songs give a feel of the old classics, maybe because of his voice quality – a breath of fresh air in the industry where pretty faces matter more than singing talents…

Track 7 : (6.5/10) Repetitive ‘Come with me’ – don’t really like it. Track is okay – midtempo, peppered with hip-hop sounds.

Track 8 : (7/10) Whale, don’t really know who she is – she has a really small part here – towards the end. Sounds okay, this track.

Track 9 : (7/10) Trademark Alex ballad, but by now, I want to listen to something different… All the songs are really great, if you listen to them individually – but sweet love songs can be just too much if you listen to them all together.

Track 10 : (6.5/10) I don’t know how many honey-covered/sugar-coated/saccharine love songs I can take anymore…

Track 11 : (9/10) This starts with the ticking of a clock… my first thoughts – Time is tickin’, T-Time is tickin’ away… lol… too much Epik High in my system. Anyway, this song is really a breath of fresh air – upbeat, fresh poppish music. I love this, especially the part where he whistles. This song is so… alive!

Track 12 : (8/10) Jazz – a genre Clazziquai is more than experienced with. A really relaxing track to listen to.

Track 13 : (7/10) This one has stronger beats, and Simon Dominic’s rapping is pretty good.

Track 14 : (8.5/10) Mid-tempo ballad – I like it for the beautiful musical arrangement, and of course Alex’s heavenly voice.

Track 15 : (9.5/10) This song has so been stuck in my head – even though I don’t really watch WGM – and I’ve been in love with it ever since I heard it. He performed this song for Shinae on the show, and I remember reading about how fans cried while watching it. This song is actually a cover of the Loveholic original (sung by JiSun), and despite being a fan of Loveholic, I would say that I enjoyed Alex’s version better – maybe because he sings it with so much emotion. Undoubtedly, the best song on the album!

VERDICT : Overall, I would give this album a 7.5/10. But again, as I said before – each of the tracks on this album is beautiful individually, but if you listen to the album all at once, it may be too saccharine to bear. Also, I didn’t like the choice of the title track…

TRACKS TO WATCH OUT FOR : Tracks 1,3,5,11,14,15.

Watch the video for 그대라면 (If It’s You) here:

Loving the MV, all done in dark blue tones, and having a simple storyline…

Oh, and watch him perform 화분 for Shinae here :

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It’s Out! MV for Epik High – Breakdown

The MV for Breakdown is out… and well, it’s different.

I wouldn’t recommend the faint of heart to watch it. The members get beaten to a pulp, not a pretty sight.

The three members are rebels(?), if I understand correctly, and some guys in suits watch them get tortured (while maliciously enjoying it, I may add). In the final scene, they are placed in chairs, ready for execution I presume – but, well I won’t spoil it for you…

Again, Tukutz spitting blood, Tablo’s head getting dumped in the toliet – not nice things to watch…

Please take me seriously – NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED. Some of the scenes can be disturbing.

Again, props to Epik High, only they can produce something as different as this. And don’t get me wrong it’s not just pointless violence – in fact the violence can only be seen to be a montage of the emotion in the song…

So much angst…

Watch it here:

Oh, and they’re wearing the same red-and-black suits which they wore to the Dream concert…

DJ Tukutz looking cool at the turntable…!

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Epik High – Breakdown (Repackage)

NAME : Breakdown (Pieces Part One Repackage)

ARTIST : Epik High

RELEASE DATE : 11th June, 2008

GENRE : Hip-Hop/Fusion

LANGUAGE : Korean

Wow! There was absolutely no sign of this coming…

So, basically it consists of the entire Pieces Part One album, along with a remix of Love Love Love, an upbeat hip-hop/electronica fusion-of-sorts track, which gained much popularity as part of their fourth album – Remapping the Human Soul.

TRACK LIST:

01 Breakdown
02 Love Love Love (Astronica Remix) NEW!

03 Be
04 서울, 1:13 AM (Short Piece)(Seoul, 1:13 AM)
05 One (Feat. JiSun)
06 연필깎이 (feat. Kebee)(Pencil Sharpener)
07 Girl (Feat. JinBo)
08 Slave (Short Piece)
09 The Future (Feat. Yankie)
10 20 Fingers (Short Piece) (Feat. DJ Friz)
11 Ignition (Feat. Na Yoon Kwon)
12 Eight By Eight (Feat. Dynamic Duo, Dok2, Double K, TBNY)
13 Decalcomanie
14 Icarus Walks (Short Piece)
15 낙화 (落花) (Fallen Blossoms)
16 우산 (feat. 윤하) (Younha) (Umbrella)
17 당신의 조각들 (feat. 지선) (Jisun) (Your Pieces)
18 B-side 01 : Breakdown (Supreme Mix)
19 B-side 02 : One (Planet Shiver Remix)

So really, there is only one new song – the Astronica *cool name* Remix of the Epik High hit ‘Love Love Love’ – which means only one song for me to rate. Anyway, the remix adds stronger beats to the song, giving it a techno-ish feel. This makes it right at home in Pieces, Part One, given that the general feel of the album is as such… I would give it a 9/10.

And, the cover – random, just like Pieces Part One…

Watch the MV for Love Love Love (Original) here:

With English subtitles. By the way, the song features YoongJin of Casker, an indie electronica group (whose music I highly recommend). The MV posted above has English subtitles.

Lyrics:

밤 12시 술 취해 지친 목소리
새벽 2시 차갑게 꺼진 전화기
아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
아파도 계속 반복하죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
있나요 사랑해본 적
영화처럼 첫 눈에 반해본 적
전화기를 붙들고 밤새본 적
세상에 자랑해본 적
쏟아지는 비속에서
기다려본 적
그를 향해 미친듯이
달려본 적
몰래 지켜본적 미쳐본적
다 보면서도 못본 척
있겠죠 사랑해본 적
기념일 때문에 가난해본 적
잘하고도 미안해 말해본 적
연애편지로 날 새본 적
가족과의 약속을 미뤄본 적
아프지말라 신께 빌어본 적
친굴 피해본 적 잃어본 적
가는 뒷모습 지켜본 적
can’t stop love
미친듯 사랑했는데 왜
정말 난 잘해줬는데 왜
모든걸 다 줬었는데
you got me going crazy
can’t stop love
죽도록 사랑했는데 왜
내 몸과 맘을 다 줬는데
모든걸 잃어버렸는데 어떡해
아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
I can’t stop

Love Love Love
아파도 계속 반복하죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
있나요 이별해본 적
빗물에 화장을 지워내본 적
긴 생머리 잘라내본 적
끊은 담배를 쥐어본 적
혹시라도 마주칠까
자릴 피해본 적
보내지도 못할 편지 적어본 적
술에 만취되서 전화 걸어본 적
여보세요 입이 얼어본 적
있겠죠 이별해본 적
사랑했던 만큼 미워해본 적
읽지도 못한 편지 찢어본 적
잊지도 못할
전화번호 지워본 적
기념일을 혼자 챙겨본 적
사진들을 다 불태워본 적
이 세상에 모든 이별 노래가
당신의 얘길꺼라 생각해본 적
can’t stop love
미친듯 사랑했는데 왜
정말 난 잘해줬는데 왜
모든걸 다 줬었는데
you got me going crazy
can’t stop love
죽도록 사랑했는데 왜
내 몸과 맘을 다 줬는데
모든걸 잃어버렸는데 어떡해
아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
아파도 계속 반복하죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love

바보처럼 울고 또 술에 취하고
친구를 붙잡고 그 사람을 욕하고
시간이 지나고 또 술에 취하고
전화기를 붙잡고 say love
아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
아파도 계속 반복하죠
I can’t stop Love Love Love
아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
사실은 당신만 모르죠
아파도 계속 반복하죠
이러다 언젠가 다시 마주치죠

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Review : T.G.U.S – Vol.1 – God of Harmony

NAME : TGUS Vol.1 – God of Harmony

ARTIST : TGUS (which stands for The Guys Using Sound, which sounds really… weird, not to mention fobby)

RELEASE DATE : 10th June, 2008.

LANGUAGE : Korean

GENRE : Ballad

I must admit that I knew next to nothing about these guys before they released this album. Heck, I didn’t really know them even after they released this album. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and I was really surprised by their beautiful voices. This is one group I think we should all be watching out for.

This group is all male and has four members. The members – Hang Wan Hui, Park Sang Jun, Song Young Min and Lee Si Hyeon (credits to T.G.U.S. official thread @soompi for members names) were all part of unsuccessful groups, who later teamed up to form T.G.U.S. This group’s USP is vocal harmonization (smoothly melding voices together to produce a clear sound, mainly used in acapella), which I found to be a very pleasing aspect of this album.

They are a new group and have participated in the SBS Hope (Hwimang) Single with Jewelry, SS501, SNSD, Brown Eyed Girls, Super Junior and Lee Hyun (5tion). Besides this, I couldn’t find a lot of information about them, no matter how hard I searched.

TRACK LIST :

01 Intro
02 I Believe In (Title)
03 가슴이 시키는 대로
04 One Last Kiss
05 Feel So Good
06 너의 뒤에서
07 Tonight
08 말해
09 무지개
10 Player
11 눈을감아
12 말하지 못한…
13 Outro

Track by track

Track 1: (9/10) I don’t really care for intro tracks – let alone rate them, but this one really makes you get up and take notice of the guys! Really nice…

Track 2: (9/10) This is the title track, a nice R&B ballad. One of the best tracks on the album!

Track 3: (7.5/10) Ballad again, a very emotional song and their vocal talents really shine through on this one.

Track 4:(9/10) This son, for some strange reminds me of 90’s ballads (by popular boy-bands of that time (western, not Korean)). Anyway, I like it a lot. Recommended.

Track 5: (6/10) A faster song to break the monotony of ballads. It doesn’t really stand out to me though…

Track 6: (8/10) R&B ballad again. Nice…

Track 7: (9/10) This is where they capitalize on both individual as well as group strengths. Easily one of the best on the album.

Track 8:(6/10) Again a faster pace, a faster beat… Not that great though, I’m beginning to get the feeling that they should stick to ballads, but I don’t know… it doesn’t seem that they are bad at it, seems more like the song isn’t good enough…

Track 9: (8.5/10) I like this song. Actually, it reminds of some Westlife song but I can’t remember which. It features a female artist, but I don’t know who…

Track 10: (6.5/10) Faster paced, not that great – haven’t we heard that before?

Track 11: (8/10) R&B ballad, I’m relieved that they’re back to this. It’s really beautiful. Listen to it to see how well they’re voices go together.

Track 12 : (8/10) A really mellow track…

Track 13 : (?/10)Outro, disappointing after listening to the great intro track. It’s just a girl mumbling in Chinese, not what I expected…

VERDICT: These guys are really good. Overall, I would give them 7/10, which is great for a début album. I hope they do well because they seem to be genuinely talented. Here’s wishing them luck!

TRACKS TO WATCH OUT FOR : Tracks 1,2,4,7,9.

I couldn’t find the video for their title track, but here’s a video of them singing Thank You (originally by Boyz II Men). It’s really sweet, check it out!

I heard Sohn Ho Young stars in the video… Looking forward to it!

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F.T Island – Prologue of F.T Island – Soyogi

NAME : Prologue of F.T Island – Soyogi

ARTIST : F.T Island

RELEASE DATE : 7th June, 2008

LANGUAGE : Japanese/Korean/English

GENRE : Pop/Ballad

This is F.T Island’s Japan debut album, and has five Japanese, two Korean and one English track. The two (6,7) Korean tracks were included on their debut album ‘Cheerful Sensibility’ and the English track (Always Be Mine) is a remake of ‘첫키스’ (First Kiss/Cheot kiss), also from Cheerful Sensibility. The first five tracks are Japanese.

TRACK LIST:

01. Friendship
02. ミライジテンシャ (Mirai Jitensha)
03. SOYOGI (Title)
04. Stars
05. A Song For You
06. F.T Island
07. Primadonna
08. Always Be Mine

(credit to neko28@wordpress)

Track by track,

Track 1: (7/10) Upbeat pop track with strong rock influences. It has a fun feel to it… similar to a few tracks on their first album.

Track 2 : (6/10) Again, pop-rock. Doesn’t really stand out to me though. It’s OK…

Track 3 : (8.5/10) This is the title track of the album. This sounds a bit different from usual F.T Island stuff, but I mean it in a good way. I’m liking this track, it sounds fresh!

Track 4 : (8/10) Pop. I like this song. No complaints about this one…

Track 5 : (6.5/10) Hmm… The second vocalist Won Bin features prominently on this one. I think I heard this song first in a concert clip of theirs, but I really didn’t like it at all then. Like it a little better now. Maybe the effects of screaming fans… really put off by that

Track 6 : (6.5/10) From what little I know, isn’t this a song written for their fans? ( I heard once that their fan club is called Primadonna). It’s OK, a little inconsistent in beats, sometimes mid-tempo and then the chorus feels really fast. One thing that annoys me is HongKi’s pronunciation of Primadonna like pureemadonna. But it’s nice that they are so considerate about their fans anyway…

Track 7 : (7/10) This a really slow, nice ballad track reminiscent of Only One Person/Hansaramman (which I absolutely loved). His English pronunciation, though restricted to just a couple of lines sounds spot on, surprisingly. I can’t comment on the Japanese pronunciation, since I don’t speak it…

Track 8 : (5.5/10) I like 첫키스 better… the accent is getting to me! Hongki, he pronounces fly as fry, with as wreeth, right as light, peaceful as prissful, everything as everyting… Don’t get me wrong, I like the song’s melody, and the lyrics are not bad either (stereotypical, but not bad) but I just cannot get over the accent…

VERDICT: This is a nice album, though not half as good as I had expected it to be, and I can firmly say that liked Cheerful Sensibility much better. I liked 3/5 of their Japanese songs, which is a good strike rate. They really need to brush up on their English pronunciation though… Overall I would give it a 7/10.

TRACKS TO WATCH OUT FOR : Tracks 3,4.

Watch the video for Soyogi here:

They look more mature here, and Hongki’s look… rockstar-ish, hair and all. I like the setting – a wooded area near a river/lake… They use mirrors to create light effects… cute!

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Nell Released a… Single?

NAME : Single – 멀어지다

ARTIST : Nell

LANGUAGE : Korean

GENRE : (Soft) Rock

OK, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they’re not supposed to, it’s just that they never did, and I didn’t expect them to…Yeah, Nell released a single for the first time. And it has two tracks, the first of which (멀어지다) was included in Nell’s Separation Anxiety (whose track-by-track review you can read here.) The second track, however is new, and is titled 1분만 닥쳐줄래요. For those who can’t read/understand Korean, that’s ‘Can You Just Shut Up For 1 Minute’! Well, they won me over with the title…

On to the music, the second track (1분만 닥쳐줄래요) has a nice (sounds like a bit of old-school to me though) melody.. very nice. Totally unexpected from Nell though. Kim Jong Wan’s voice sounds really great, as usual, but had it not been for his voice, I could NOT have recognized this as a Nell song. Sounds different from their usual style…brighter! It’s like a breath of fresh air, even for Nell (always unique and a step aside from the rest of the industry). I would give it a 8.5/10. As for track one (멀어지다), it’s a beautiful ballad track with a strong piano sound, one of the best tracks on Nell’s Separation Anxiety album, and I would give it a 9/10 (actually I’m liking it better since I saw the video, I would now probably give it a 9.5):)

Recommended.

Edit: I have posted the MV in another recent post 😀 Check it out here.

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Review: Nell – Separation Anxiety

NAME : Nell Vol.4 (though this is debated) – Separation Anxiety

RELEASE DATE : 25 March, 2008

ARTIST : NELL

LANGUAGE : Korean

GENRE : Rock

Nell is an (unfortunately lesser recognized) Korean rock band who recently released their fourth (fans like to dispute whether it’s their fourth or sixth, but I’d like to hail it as their fourth major album) by the name of Separation Anxiety. The album has eleven tracks, including the much acclaimed rock ballad 기억을 걷는 시간 (which can be translated as Time to Take a Stroll down Memory Lane / Time to Search One’s Memory) which is the title track. In fact, the group won its first Mutizen for this song.

TRACK LIST:

01. Separation Anxiety

02. Moonlight Punch Romance

03. 기억을 걷는 시간 (Title)

04. 멀어지다

05. Promise Me

06. 1:03

07. Fisheye Lens

08. Afterglow

09. Tokyo

10. 12 Seconds

11. _

So, going track-wise:

Track 1: (8/10) Rock ballad, similar to 기억을 걷는 시간, and Kim Jong wan’s high vocals sound excellent on this one, and the repetitive lyric 나를 떠나지 마요 adds to the haunting feel of the track. Very nice and highly recommended.

Track 2: (9/10) Very fresh… I’m speechless about this one. Recommended!

Track 3: (10/10) Rock ballad, with a mellow sound. This is easily the track where Kim Jong Wan’s beautiful voice is utilised to its best. Must-listen, and I mean it!

Track 4:(9/10) One of the slower tracks on the album, contemporary rock ballad. Nice…

Track 5: (9/10) Amazing rock track, one of the faster ones on the CD, really really good. You see, with an artist like Nell every track has something new to offer – a different, unique sound, which is why , it is extremely easy to listen to the whole album at a stretch without actually having to skip any track (generally harder to do with most artists).

Track 6: (8.5/10) I really like the beat on this track. Actually, this is one of those tracks that really grows on you with every listen. At first, I liked it a lot, but now I’m loving it – after a couple of listens more.

Track 7: (9/10) Modern rock, has a really nice, contemporary feel to it…

Track 8:(8.5/10) Nice piano intro…this is beautiful music… it has a haunting feel to it

Track 9: (8.5/10) I love how this track starts…sounds like beats in the distance. One of the better known tracks on the album, after of course 기억을 걷는 시간. The lyrics are completely in English. It sounds very… quiet yet it’s beautiful music. Recommended.

Track 10: (8/10) Don’t go by the name (12 Seconds), for this track is a whole 8 minutes and 45 seconds… long, to say the least. Anyway, it’s a beautiful track, where Kim Jong Wan’s vocals sound mellow, though unrecognizably high in the chorus. I find the musical arrangement of this track to be very interesting – minimal but at the same time, able to convey the feel of the song smoothly enough. I’m unable to describe it exactly…

Track 11: (?/10) Uhh… wow, his voice is unrecognizably high pitched here. In one word, interesting. I really don’t know how to rate this one. Very high pitched… experimental music.

VERDICT: Overall 9.5/10. This is an excellent album, and a definite must-buy particularly for fans of Rock music. Even for those who do not listen to Korean music, this is a great listening experience. Try it!

TRACKS TO WATCH OUT FOR : All the tracks are worth listening to, but tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 are recommended in particular.

Watch the video for 기억을 걷는 시간 here :

The vocalist Kim Jong Wan stars as the lead, along with the rest of the group. I like this video a lot. It’s simple yet artistic.

Like it? Purchase Nell’s cd here.

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