July 5th, 2011


Album Review: Taru by Hellokpop

Chances are, even if you don’t know who Taru is, you’ve heard her voice before. Since her 2007 debut as the vocalist of electronic-alternative band The Melody, and subsequent transformation into a solo artist, this singer-songwriter’s lithe, delicate voice has been a draw for listeners and an asset for herself. The once-”Goddess of Hong-dae” (referring to the college town around Hong-Ik University in Seoul, a central scene for Korea’s indie musicians) went on to participate in a huge number of commercial songs, while working closely with other indie big-names like Humming Urban Stereo and fellow Pastel Music artist Sentimental Scenery. (In Sentimental Scenery’s newest album, she is featured in the title track as well as in another that was originally a commercial tune.) Even mainstream-focused listeners have probably heard of Epik High‘s 2008 masterpiece 1분 1초 (1 Minute, 1 Second), where Taru sang the well-known chorus.

But sophomore album 100 Percent Reality throws a lot of Taru’s previous images out the window. This is a thematic and genre-wise departure from Taru’s two previous major releases, EP R.A.I.N.B.O.W and studio LP Taru. Everyone knew Taru was a versatile vocalist, but in general she used to stick to electronic pop and shibuya-influenced electronica, with some ballad streaks thrown in. On the other hand, this album, which was written and composed from beginning to end by Taru herself, is much more heavily pop ballad. The focal point of her music seems to have shifted a bit.
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 Sourse: hellokpop.com


[NEW RELEASES] Various “All That Masterpiece Series”

Although K-pop groups with flashy outfits and slinky dances are seeing immense popularity overseas, there was a Korean rock and ballad renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s among local bands. Ybmusic, a small Korean music producer, has digitally remastered and released five albums featuring five musicians who were at the pinnacle of their popularity in that era.

At the time, local music charts were dominated by musicians who started at the bottom and built up their reputations through performances at cafes and concert halls - unlike today’s pop stars, who are created by corporate management agencies.

The series includes music by: Jeon In-gwon, the lead singer of Deulgukhwa, a top rock band in the 1980s; the late Kim Gwang-seok, a folk singer-songwriter whose “Around 30” is still loved by people in their 30s; Jo Ha-mun, a ballad-singer turned clergyman; Lee Mun-se, a still-popular ballad singer; and Choi Seong-won, famous for “Blue Night of Jeju Island.”

Various “All That Masterpiece Series”

Label: Ugly Duck
Genre: K-pop, rock
By Seo Ji-eun

Sourse: Korea JoongAng Daily