Evan #1: Hard to Breath

Evan - Hard to BreathJenny Wu reviews her album of the year
T-Entertainment, March 2007

It seems as though the recent kpop scene has been increasingly riddled with generic and bland tunes. However, once in a while, I’ll come across something that’s worthy of my time. For every cloud, there’s a silver lining. This is where Evan (Yoo Ho Suk, former Click B member) comes in. Evan’s debut solo album is perhaps one of the best pop albums I’ve come across so far this year – a refreshingly varied mix of R&B and modern jazz influenced pop songs. Although his vocals nowhere near as powerful as say, Wheesung or Hwanhee of Fly to the Sky, they’re deliciously soothing. At times, his voice reminds me a bit of Jo Sung Mo’s, only not as high in register. Furthermore, while Jo Sung Mo sings your usual string of uninteresting ballads, Evan’s music manages to keep me awake. This doesn’t surprise me given that the album was produced by Tony An (former jtL/H.O.T. member). I’ve always thought Tony had a good ear.

Let’s skip the intro and go straight into the main tracks. The second track, ‘This Song’ is an R&B slow jam sets the mood for the rest of the album combining soothing rythmic beats and gentle acoustic guitars with Evan’s sweet vocals. It’s pretty short track… and before you get a chance to catch your breath, ‘Namjado… Eojjeol Su Eopda’ (track #3) begins. It’s the standout track on this album – an achingly beautiful ballad worthy of repeat. Next, we have track #4, ‘Eternal Sunshine,’ a fun mid-tempo mix of guitars & pop beats that oozes personality. He even does a little falsetto thing toward the end. Track #5, ‘Sarangeun’ is a simple jazz influenced piece. With only a piano in the backdrop, it allows listeners concentrate on his smooth and mezmerizing vocals. #6 ‘Ban (Half)’ and #10 ‘Where Is Your Heart’ are urban flavored tracks reminiscent #2, ‘This Song,’ only these two posess a little more attitude and angst.


The next few songs #7 ‘Nal Wirohaji Annneun Bam,’ #8 ‘Wiro,’ and #9 ‘Overcome’ are light and relaxing, melting all your troubles away. I especially like ‘Overcome.’ His voice sounds almost other-worldly in this one. Very sexy. This soothing quality of Evan’s music pretty much defines most of the album. Things start to liven up with #11 ‘All About Your Love,’ which is perhaps the catchiest song an the album. You’ll find yourself singing or humming along. I know I did.

The album wraps itself up with the ballads #12 ‘Always In My Head’ and #13 ‘Uri Eojjeomyeon Manyage…’ . Evan possesses a gentle sincerity that a lot of ballad singers lack these days because they’re too busy trying to impress us with their ability to perform difficult vocal stunts. Evan’s vocals flow seamlessly with the music allowing listeners to take in the whole song rather than distracting them with vocal acrobatics.

If you’re yearning for some decent (or excellent, in this case) pop music, I suggest you give this album a listen. You’ll find yourself coming back for more because there’s enough variety to keep you from getting bored. I have great hopes for Evan’s future.

This review originally appeared in Jenny’s blog Gravity, and is reproduced with permission

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