“K-pop and Idol” (opening chapter)
The ten best “idol” albums selected, among them Solar:
- Taeyang Solar (2010)
Solar is the first full-length album by Taeyang, who had, two years earlier, done something rare for an idol group member. With his Hot EP, he had broken through and caught not only the attention of fans, but the attention of critics as well. This full-length album thoroughly satisfied those expectations. In addition to getting the usual support from YG family members like Teddy and Kush, Taeyang expanded his breadth of expression by collaborating with musicians like Jeon Gun and Swings, who are mostly active in the underground scene. And by personally composing a great song like Take It Slow, Taeyang took another step closer to his dream.
Note: The other nine were albums by Seo Taiji & Boys, S.E.S., Untitle, D-Bass, BoA, Brown Eyed Girls, 2NE1, Shinee and Infinite.
The book then takes a look at each decade from 1970 onwards, introducing the most relevant songs and then presenting a selection of the 20 top albums from each decade.
14 songs were introduced from 2000-2010, one of them being BIGBANG’s “Lies.”
- BIGBANG Lies (2007) (Taeyang excerpt only for now. We will update with the full text about BIGBANG once available):
Taeyang was the first [member] to make a name for himself as a solo artist. He established his own musical world with RnB music at its core, the music he had studied and practiced for so long. The two albums he released were well received by not only the BIGBANG fandom, but also by critics. He has positioned himself as not just a member of BIGBANG, but as a commanding presence [literally, axis] in the Korean RnB scene.
Note: The majority of the songs introduced in this chapter are mainstream (major label) songs that helped spread K-pop internationally – Tell Me, Hug, Gee, Number 1, 10 Minute, How to Avoid the Sun, etc.. The exceptions were from Garion, Huckleberry Finn and Jang Gi Ha.
Note: Comparatively, the 20 albums selected are mostly from “minor” [label] musicians, exceptions being DJ DOC, Brown Eyes, Lee SoRa and Taeyang.
Taeyang, Hot (2008)
Taeyang is an unusual idol singer who has long known what he wants to do and what he can do best and has never stopped working [toward that vision]. As a result, Hot is a “prepared” album. And Taeyang had superb assistance behind him. YG Entertainment, Teddy included, understood and produced precisely the kind of music Taeyang wanted, and Taeyang dressed that music with his unique voice. The expectations that began with Hot changed to conviction with the full-length album Solar.
The 20 albums selected, chronologically:
DJ DOC The Life
No Brain The Song of Youthful Rioter
DJ Soulscape 180gm Beat
Julia Hart Light Breathing
Lucid Fall Lucid Fall
Brown Eyes Vol. 1
Yeon Young-Suk Factory
Verbal Jint Modern Rhymes
Sinawi Vol. 8
Jang Pil-Soon Vol. 6
Kim Doo-Soo Free Spirit
Huckleberry Finn Vol. 3
Lee So-Ra Eyelash Moon
My Sister’s Barbershop The Most Ordinary Existence
Seoul Electric Band Life Is Strange
2NE1 Mini, Vol. 1
About the book:
What a timely subject. With the ongoing popularity of K-pop music, fans or even just non-fans might have wondered once where the roots of it all came from.
The author, who has covered popular Korean music for various media outlets, sees the foundation from 1970s Korean music. There were such unexpected gifted musicians as Han Dae-soo, a singer-songwriter who introduced folk music to the public, Shin Joong-hyun, also a singer-song writer and a rock guitarist and Sanwoolim, a trio of brothers who popularized their version of rock music.
The music and the work these musicians produced gave way to slew of popular singers in 1980s including legendary Cho Yong-pil, and Korea’s Madonna Kim Wan-seon. The ‘80s musicians pass the baton onto Shin Seung-hoon and Seo Taiji and the Boys in the 1990s and BoA and TVXQ in the 2000s.
The writer notes how fan culture first sprouted with the 1970s musicians, that Kim Wan-seon was one of the first “idol” stars who spent many years preparing before her debut, a career path taken by so many of present stars including BoA and TVQ.