LKL Critics’ Choice 2011: Saharial

by Saharial on 1 January, 2012 updated 1 January, 2019

in 2011 year-end posts | Albums of the year 2011 | Pop rock and indie | Recorded music reviews

Looking back over my orders, its been more of a Japanese movie year for me this year, but despite that and the usual excessive Shinhwa related purchases there are some honorable mentions, one disappointment, and a winner by someone you might not have heard of…

4Men – Vol. 4 – The Artist

The three members of 4Men

The three members of 4Men: Kim Young Jae, Shin Yong Jae and Kim Won Joo

14 June 2011
[Buy at YesAsia]

4Men - The ArtistI first heard of this vocal trio via the OST of the drama ‘Bad Guy’, where they did a fantastic duet with Ben of Bebe Mignon. Favourites of the drama OST of late with their distinctive and wonderful voices I guessed it was a safe bet to buy the album and I was not wrong. Whilst none of the songs really stood out as a favourite, I really enjoyed listening to the vocals. They do better on the ballads that need powerful crescendos and a more intense feeling to them, and I found they fit in better with random playing rather than a straight play through.

Sung Si Kyung 7th Album

Sung Si Kyung

Sung Si Kyung

19 Sept 2011
[Buy at YesAsia]

Sung Si Kyung Vol 7Sung Si Kyung eased himself back into the music scene with a single earlier this year, a track in a drama series before this full length album in September but I have been waiting for this album for three years and it was worth every second of that wait. Si Kyung has not lost any of his musicality whilst on national service, nor has his voice changed in quality or perfection. He’s kept to his distinctive ballad style with well written songs that compliment his voice and hasn’t tried to be overly trendy, picking duets with Lena Park (a well established ballad voice) and one with IU another solo artist who does well acoustically and has a sweet voice. Both voices blend well with his thanks to well selected and crafted songs and that the two girls have similar ranges and pitch. I prefer the IU ballad despite my liking for Lena Park, simply because I think the song has better interplay between the two parts.

Uangel Voice First Love Vol. 1

Uangel Voice

Uangel Voice

23 June 2011
[Buy at YesAsia]

Uangel Voice Vol 1This was the disappointment. Not for the quality of the voices but the overall product. One song in five languages and then the DVD with the same MV for each of the languages seems a little like hedging a bet with international audiences. I think it would have been better to pick a song from each country so there would be a little bit of variety. It wasn’t a cheerful song either. It was beautifully sung, but one after the other was a little tedious. Sorry. They sung such a lovely variety of songs at the concert they gave at the KCC I guess I was hoping for something a little like that. Of course If i had waited until October I would have got what I was expecting – a 2CD set of different Korean and western songs.

Shin Hye Sung – The Road Not Taken

Shin Hye Sung

Shin Hye Sung

17 June 2011
[Buy at YesAsia]

Shin Hye Sung – The Road Not TakenI selected this from my several Shinhwa purchases as this was the one album that was totally Korean and not a Japanese single or duet. Shin Hyesung never fails to impress with his vocals and stage presence when live, but I do often wonder if I can listen to another album of ballads after the delightful 3rd album where he strayed into the more indie rock style that I really liked. I do though, and its not tough going like I worry it will be. The opening track is simple voice and piano and followed by ‘Tick Tock’ the song I liked the most. The album has enough variety of style to stop it being too familiar and ending on a duet with Nam GyuRi and featuring Eric a Shinhwa band mate was a nice touch.

Oh Jun Seong: City Hunter soundtrack

Oh Jun Seong

Oh Jun Seong

27 May, 29 June, 29 July 2011
[Buy at YesAsia: Part 1, Part 2, Special OST]

City Hunter OST Part 2The best album for me was the score from the drama City Hunter. Oh Jun Seong who was responsible for the Boys over Flowers score did a superb job with the instrumental tracks. Cinematically and thematically every bar fitted with every scene perfectly, and added to the tension and atmosphere of the drama just how it should. There was enough variety to stop it sounding repetitive, and enough themes to vary instrumentation to suit the scenes.

Not all of Oh’s tracks are available on the DVDs listed above. You can sample one instrumental track on YouTube here, or a more comprehensive selection on Oh’s TwitVid channel.

And the albums I didn’t get in time for this review: Tablo’s 1st, B2st’s 1st full length album and Leessang’s latest. They will be winging their way to me over the next few months, so I’ll review them then!

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