[Album Review] Hwanhee’s First Full Album, "Hwanhee"
01 TEMPTATION (INTRO)
02 하루 종일 (All Day)
03 죽을 것만 같아 (Feel Like Dying)
04 모르게 (Secretly)
05 어젠 (Yesterday) (ORIGINAL HWANHEE ver.)
06 악몽 (Nightmare)
07 남남 (feat. 메이다니) (Strangers)
08 T BY TEARS
09 사랑해 사랑해 (feat. 세용) (Love You, Love You)
10 그대가 가르쳐준 이별 (The Breakup You Taught Me)
After success in duo Fly To The Sky with fellow member Brian Joo), Hwanhee’s first full-length album has been released. After working on a number of mini albums and later having a problem with his vocal health, the singer is back to form with a self-titled album.
While he had worked with some renowned producers and songwriters for the album, there was a little bit of drama that occurred just before the album release. Because the mixing and mastering of the album did not fully meet the artist’s high expectations, Hwanhee agreed with H-Entercom to dispose of 20,000 album copies.
The title track of the album, “Feel Like Dying,” is, as songs go, nothing spectacular. However, it doesn’t need to be. This song was not made to get crowds to dance, or to change the world; this song was made for you sit down, shut up, close your eyes, and retreat from the world. The range of his voice goes from soft in the verses to powerful in the choruses, which gives you a sense of emotional turmoil. The song continues to build up in power until it leaves you how it began, soft, with a piano-laden melody that grips your heart. When you watch this song with a music video that complements it, it becomes that much stronger.
The music video is one that some of you may almost be aware of, even if you don’t know it. Actor Lee Jang Woo (Hwanhee’s cousin), plays the main role and those who watch the TV show “We Got Married” would have heard about this music video. The ending of the music video was a source of talk for some, but I will not ruin the surprise for you! Be sure to check out a live performance of the song after watching the MV because Hwanhee certainly delivers powerful live.
I am a fan of the title song for sure, but that’s not all the album has to offer. The album definitely has an ongoing sound that’s soft, subdued, and laced with regret, so there are no songs that stand out as different from the rest, but some songs do shine.
Track eight, “T For Tears,” has a simple sound to it, which allows his vocals to shine through. I think the reason this song stands out for me is that it’s the style of song that made me a JYJ fan. I am not sure if anyone else will feel there is a similarity, but trust me, it’s a good one.
Track two, “All Day,” is another song that I think will have people hitting replay. The reason I like this song is that it’s the type of song perfect for someone with Hwanhee’s amazing vocals. The music is interesting, but is just there as a platform to showcase his voice. It does that very well. His voice, especially in the chorus of this song, will reverberate within you and if you listen to it with your eyes closed through headphones, loud, like I did, then you might just get goosebumps. I certainly did! (I am a huge fan of powerful vocals!)
If you are not a fan of ballad-style music with lots of piano and orchestral strings, then this album may not be for you. However, if you want an album that you play from start to finish and have your heartstrings tugged, then this definitely is for you. The album sounds like one long string of post-relationship remorse, so don’t expect too much diversity. Something that stuck with me was that a lot of the songs sound like they’re from the moments in dramas where you’re crying all over yourself, which are the moments I enjoy the most.
If you’re a Hwanhee fan and love him for his amazing voice, then this album is one you should definitely buy. The album case is also cool, which is a bonus. If you’re not a fan of ballad-style music, then maybe you should avoid it. Still, you should watch the MV for the title track just in case — you might be surprised.
Rating: Overall, I give the album a 3 out of 5.
5/5 – Even if you’re not a fan of this artist/group this album is a must buy.
4/5 – If you’re a fan of this artist/group, you must buy this album.
3/5 – If you’re a fan of this artist/group, you might want to add this one to your collection.
2/5 – I don’t think a fan would even buy this.
1/5 – You might as well just flush your money down the toilet.