London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Two more 2007 album choices

Jang Sa Ik Vol 5As an appendix to the recommendations by the three critics who know Korean pop, rock and indie music much better than me, here are two further choices.

I can’t help but sympathise with Jenny when she comments that 2007 was not an outstanding year. My own purchases of Korean music are somewhat random. When I’m guided by people I trust, more often than not I like what I hear. When buying what seems topical or in the news, I’m less than successful.

As an example of the rogues’ gallery of turkeys I’ve mistakenly bought this year: Ivy’s Second, of which the most complimentary thing I can think of to say is that there are some pretty pictures; Dynamic Duo’s Third; and Lexy’s Third, which has forced me to consider recalibrating my rating system, because Super Junior T’s debut is certainly more worthwhile. Better is Wheesung’s fifth – though blandly middle-of-the-road – while at least Yangpa’s fifth gets a mildly positive recommendation for swing lovers.

Having explored some of the recommendations of the LKL critics, I’ll certainly take recommendations from them again. But rather than simply repeat what they have said, my two additions to the list of albums of the year come with the recommendation of Jay Kim in AM Records in Manhattan’s Koreatown.

Yi Sung-yol In ExchangeFirst up, an interesting fusion album from traditional singer Jang Sa Ik. His voice somehow manages to be mellow and craggy at the same time, while the arrangements involve Korean traditional instruments, jazz, and acoustic guitars – though thankfully not all at once. His fifth album (above left), released in December last year, is beautifully recorded and well worth the investment of time needed to get used to his sound world.

Secondly, an album I’ve already enthused about: Yi Sung-yol‘s Second: In Exchange (right). Intelligent songwriting, sensitive singing, with catchy melodies and a variety of styles. This has been in my CD player constantly in the last few months.

A huge thank-you to Jenny, Anna and Saharial for their contributions. I hope you have enjoyed them.

4 thoughts on “Two more 2007 album choices

  1. i’ll definitely bear those two recommendations in mind – especially because of who recommended them yo you in the first place. My friend Lynne passed on a lot of his recommendations to me. haha perhaps he should write an article too!!

  2. I need to go check out Yi Sung Yol again. He didn’t grab me at first listen, but perhaps he’ll grow on me. I did like the song he did with Ji Sun. At times, he sounds like a smoother Yoon Do Hyun (who I’m absolutely crazy about).

    Oh! I feel so sorry for you having bought Ivy’s 2nd! Doesn’t it make your ears bleed?

  3. I just came back to say thank you for the reintroduction to Yi Sung Yol. I relistened to his albums a couple of times and just found myself captivated by his vocals.

    I’m getting myself his album when I purchase my next batch of CDs. 🙂

  4. Glad you like it. Enjoy the second album.
    I’m hopefully off to visit my favourite CD store in Manhattan’s Koreatown at the end of this month. Maybe more recommendations will follow!

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