Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Album Review: Standing Egg's Vol. 1 With

I think I've been doing one too many posts about INFINITE, although to tell you the truth it might not be enough. So stepping aside from INFINITE, and K-pop as a whole, let's review some sweet-lovin' music from indie band Standing Egg and their first album, With.

First of all I would like to say I LOVE THIS ALBUM! It was released November last year but it's never too late to enjoy some fine music, right? From beginning to end, it's just pure joy to listen to. It's always magical to step out of the constricted world of K-pop and spread your wings to something indie. Some pop song listeners out there might think that indie music is weird music for snobby kids. No, not at all. With Standing Egg, I'm going to show you that indie music is enjoyable even to the pop ears. Although the band is jazz inspired, it's still loose enough for non-jazz loving people out there.

I'm not sure if the English translations of the titles are correct so if you have a better, more correct alternative, please do tell!

사랑한다는 말 (Words of Love). Just like its title, this song is pure love. Egg 2, the vocalist of this band and yes that's what he calls himself, has such a sweet, easy to listen voice. With simple piano, guitar, and drums as it's background, it's just such a soothing song to listen too. An uplifting one too! One of the lyrics say, in English, "I still believe in love". How sweet is that? So about the translation of the song title. I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to be, because I have horrible Korean.

lalala. If you have the chance to watch the music video, please please do! It's just so cool. They used stop-motion picture technique with cutout paper cats as the main stars and the kitchen, I believe, as the backdrop with dancing veggies and fruits to match. This song is more upbeat compared to the first song, adding a bit of funk with electric bass and drums. Egg 2's voice, once again, saved the day. Such a beautiful voice! He is gifted indeed. And the lyrics of the chorus is so simple even beginner K-poppers will understand. "lalala 널 사랑해 사랑해". "lalala I love you love you". So simple, yet so beautiful.

Man Theme. An intermezzo of piano goodness. It's only 25 seconds and for quite some time I actually thought it was the intro of the next song. It's fast so enjoy it while it lasts.

Hide & Seek (Duet with 고현욱). The swing genre is the basis for this duet of the amazing male vocals. I've never heard of Go Hyun-wook before but I'll say that I'm a fan of him and his voice after hearing him featured with Standing Egg. To tell you the truth till this day I have no idea what they're saying in English and lazy me didn't bother to search it up online. But despite the confusing lyrics, this song is amazing. I also don't really know which part is Go's and which is Egg 2's. Their voice colors are too similar.

사랑에 빠져본 적 있나요 (Have You Ever Been In Love?). My favorite song. Okay, well, I don't know. All the songs in this album are so good, somehow I feel guilty picking one as a favorite. The reason I love this song is the chorus which is simply "Have you ever fell in love? I do." Maybe that line makes me feel a little depressed at times, I blame hormones, but at the end of the day it always makes me smile gleefully for no reason. I also love the jazz going on in the background. I've said before that I'm not a big fan of falsettos but I have to admit I love the use of it in this song. When used right, it will be love.

Kiss. Another amazing, jazzy song. Awkward Engrish is a downside for Standing Egg but besides that, I give them all my love. The feel of this song is more lounge-y compared to the other songs in this album. It makes you want to sit by the window, reminiscing about love, whether it be gloomy or blooming. I love the bridge towards the end of the song with the addition of a female voice. Again, they sang in Engrish so I have no idea what they're saying thus I'm always mumbling when I sing along.

Woman Theme. Another piano intermezzo, still amazing. It serves as an opening for songs featuring female vocalists.

내일은 잊을꺼야 with (I Will Forget Tomorrow). From this song onward the album becomes more gloomy, but not necessarily depressing. The aura of the song is gloomier than the previous songs. It talks about a couple playing the waiting game, or at least that's what I think the lyrics mean. I also adore's voice. It's husky yet sweet and so lovely. This song is also only accompanied by I believe a single acoustic guitar. So simple yet so lovely.

가슴 아픈 말 with 고현욱 (Heartbreaking Words). Back with Go Hyun-wook! Okay, so if the previous track was approaching gloomy, this song is full on gloomy. I mean, the song's title gives it all away. Go's voice is so emotional in this track, it makes me want to cry for no reasons. The beginning starts out with his voice almost whispering with only a piano along with him. Then the song comes to a climax when they take out the drums and Go sings almost to a scream. I think this song is amazing how it portrays one's heart when it's hurt. At first it's confused and keeps to itself, but then becomes full blown angry, then back to calm again. With great build up like that, they used this amazing song as the title track. Great choice.

넌 이별 난 아직 with 한소현 (3rd Coast) (You Want to Break Up, But Not Yet For Me). This is actually the song that brought my attention to Standing Egg. The odd thing is that the vocalist isn't even from Standing Egg. She has an amazing voice though. This song is just pure love. The English translation of this song pretty long compared to the Korean title. But I'm still confused at how to write out the title. The idea of the song is a couple in which the man is done and over with the relationship but the girl still wants to hang on. This collaboration is just amazing. Blows my mind. Compared to previously who has a sweeter voice, Han So-hyun has a stronger vocal which is shown during the song's chorus. And can't you just fall in love with the guitar-piano combo? This is just one awesome song. No wonder it's their co-title track.

Winter Theme. This is yet another piano intermezzo. And, like it's title say, it gives a winter feel. Aw... I miss snow now. It's a lead up to the next Christmas-inspired track.

First Christmas. A lovely ballad for the Christmas season. Christmas is still a long time coming, but this song definitely reminds one of those times. Maybe sitting in front of the fireplace on a chilly night? This song also incorporates quite an amount of falsettos and I love it. Falsettos need to be done right, people. If it is done correctly, it will brings the mood of the song very well. With just a piano accompanying him, this is just a lovely track. A song about the hope Christmas brings along with it that's great for the holiday season. I don't celebrate Christmas, but just listening to this track, I feel all warm and fuzzy.

가슴 아픈 말 with Clover (gray ver.) (Heartbreaking Words). This is the same exact song like track 9 but this time with the vocals of Clover, another of Standing Egg's vocalist. Compared to Go Hyun-wook, Clover has an almost boyish voice. Also compared to Go's version, they didn't add in the drums in the climax, just an acoustic guitar and later on strings. It's a little tamer than Go's version, but then again also sweeter if you can call a heartbreak song sweet. The angst that was  felt in Go's version is not felt here, but the pain of a heartbreak is still there.

This album receives pure love from me. I was actually surprised myself at how much I absolutely adore them. I fell for them hard. They just have such an easy feel to their songs that I love. The only thing I see that lacks in this album is the awkward Engrish but I'll let it pass. The music is just too good. I am so excited for their future projects. It's going to be magical.

Note: Okay, so I'm still confused if Clover and Egg 2 is the same person or not. I apologize for my lack of knowledge. If anyone wants to shed some light on this, please comment!

Final Verdict: 9/10

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