Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-hyun of AKMU (brief for Akdong Musician) should be on the cusp of their younger maturity, however they possess a inventive capability, aptitude and knowledge nicely past their years. That is evident within the music they’ve put out since making their mark as teenagers within the 2012 actuality TV competitors Ok-Pop Star 2, during which they emerged as champions.
Now of their early- and mid-20s with three full-length albums and handful of different releases to their title, the proficient sibling duo have returned with the retro-tinged ‘Subsequent Episode’ – and in true AKMU trend, it comes with a twist. Often known as their “collaboration album”, the seven-song EP – written and co-composed by older brother Chan-hyuk – options visitor appearances from a number of the trade’s finest recognized voices.
“We’ve been planning this for a couple of years,” Chan-hyuk shared on YouTube talk show IU’s Palette, helmed by none apart from the nation’s sweetheart IU herself, who coincidentally additionally contributes to the album. “Even supposing many musicians assume positively about us, they aren’t very prepared to work on a tune with us… Fortunately, everybody [involved in ‘Next Episode’] had enjoyable and gladly stated sure to working with us.”
IU working with the siblings on ‘Subsequent Episode’, marks their first correct collaboration after years of friendship. After Chan-hyuk had helped pen and compose IU’s tune ‘Ah Puh’, on her comeback album ‘Lilac’ earlier this yr, it appeared smart and well timed for the latter to return the favour. The result’s lead single ‘NAKKA’, with its Korean title ‘낙하’ which means ‘falling down’. “By way of ‘NAKKA’, we wished to inform folks there all the time is somebody supporting them even when they fall from the highest,” the duo stated throughout an internet press convention for the album, per The Korea Herald.
The tune could be very a lot the musical model of a belief fall, with Chan-hyuk and Su-hyun singing reassuringly, “I informed you I’d by no means go away you / When such a day comes”, and IU becoming a member of within the vocal gymnastics of the refrain: “Belief me, shut your eyes and fall / One, two, three, maintain your breath and fall”. Credit score needs to be given to how the elements in ‘NAKKA’ have been divided – every singer will get ample air-time all through to shine, with Su-hyun and IU’s voices mixing nicely with its darkish and moody ’80s synth-pop vibes.
Together with ‘NAKKA’, different songs on ‘Subsequent Episode’ additionally trip on the ‘newtro’ pattern that continues to brush South Korea. A portmanteau of ‘new’ and ‘retro’, this time period describes a resurgence in tendencies or parts from the previous – usually from the ’70s to ’90s – that evoke a way of nostalgia. Album opener ‘Hey Child, Shut Your Eyes’ (or ‘battleground’ in Korean) might initially call to mind the opening chords of the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 hit ‘Abracadabra’ (sans its signature baseline), but it surely holds its personal the second Su-hyun creates a vivid depiction of a warzone together with her measured phrases: “Have a look at the sky coated in ashes of gunpowder / Whoosh go the bomb and the bullet.” It’s notably confronting when viewing its accompanying music video: monochrome scenes of youngsters operating about with weapons of their fingers, or strategising battles that transcend a seemingly ‘innocent’ board recreation of Threat.
“The unhappy actuality is that our childhood is constructed above piles of bones with nothing however the stays of conflict, and all we’re taught is the right way to conquer with weapons and blades in our fingers,” reads the music video’s description. Chan-hyuk does take a second to humanise the lives that have been misplaced, questioning: ”What sort of individual have been you / earlier than you have been coated in mud?” Pairing up with the siblings on this haunting monitor is veteran singer Lee Solar-hee, recognized for her hit tune ‘Destiny’, and whose voice can be acquainted to these rising up in ’80s or ’90s Korea.
The late-2000s vibes of ‘Bench’, which options rapper and singer Zion.T, wouldn’t be misplaced on the soundtrack of 2009 Ok-drama Boys Over Flowers. Its upbeat, electrical guitar-filled melody – bearing candy hints of ‘Chocolate’ by The 1975 – leads right into a refrain with a toned-down tempo; a distinction that gives an aural perception of the musicality favoured throughout that point. AKMU then change up the momentum with the onomatopoeic ‘Tictoc Tictoc Tictoc’, one of many extra modern-sounding tracks on the album, with rapper Beenzino including lyrical layers together with his clean verses.
The tempo winds down towards the latter a part of the album, and that is the place Chan-hyuk’s mastery in storytelling continues to shine. Together with his soulful vocals, indie rock band JANNABI frontman Choi Jung-hoon reveals a poignant anecdote on the title monitor ‘Subsequent Episode’ (or ‘맞짱’, which suggests ‘a combat’ in Korean), via which a five-year-old tells his mom why he didn’t combat again when being hit: “Mum, I used to be unhappy that I fought my shut buddy / It hurts greater than getting my mouth bruised.”
‘Silly Love Music’, which Su-hyun sings with R&B vocalist Crush, supplies a novel but sombre perception to the ideas of a singer-songwriter acting on stage; the distress that impressed a given tune inadvertently changing into the viewers’s supply of enjoyment. “Recollections I wouldn’t revisit / Make crowds roar / Ache I stored hidden as secrets and techniques / At the moment are sung by everybody,” they sing.
Rounding up this collaboration album is the lofty, inspirational closing monitor ‘Everest’, which might match proper in as a part of a cinematic trailer for a blockbuster movie. Singer-songwriter Sam Kim kicks it off with a folksy, acoustic introduction, with the music, alongside together with his and Su-hyun’s vocals, regularly gaining momentum as they ascend in the direction of the tune’s climax – very very similar to a momentous climb up its namesake mountain. “Often we see / The proof that nothing is not possible on the earth.”
Very similar to a mountainous expedition, there are all the time dangers that include collaborating with others, however these in ‘Subsequent Episode’ work for the higher: every monitor brings out the strengths of the collaborators, whereas nonetheless efficient in showcasing Su-hyun’s flawless, pristine vocals and Chan-hyuk’s adept lyrical storytelling. Each siblings shared on IU’s Palette that they’re each assured and happy with this album – and admittedly, they’ve each purpose to be.
- Launch date: July 26
- File label: YG Leisure
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