I have to admit that over the past year I have been listening to more and more Korean R&B. So it stands to reason then that when a K-pop group, member(s) and/or sub-unit(s) within those groups take a trip on the R&B highway, I have been finding myself boarding that bus. Got7 is one of those groups. And even though they have been pumping out music since 2014, my sheltered, single-focused fangirl ears never wandered to have a listen. All I can say is this: I missed out . . . like in, missed the bus completely! Specifically where leader JB is concerned.
Have you experienced the vocal stylings of Sam Kim yet? If not, please get on board because you will not be disappointed. This young Korean-American singer-songwriter-composer-guitarist has some serious talent wrapped in his very young yet amazingly mature 21 years (or 22, if you are playing by Korean age rules). Sam barreled into my lane about six months ago when he released a three song EP, Sun and Moon, Pt. 1 and I have not wasted any time gobbling up everything he has recorded and released.
I sometimes try to imagine what this countdown series would have been like had I only filled it with Vocal Virtuosity moments. Then again, every song, video or the like shared here throughout this entire countdown has actually been that kind of moment. Early on in one of the blog posts here, I labeled G.O a virtuoso at his craft. And initially when the word synced up in my mind to describe G.O, it was because of his music. But as it turns out, a virtuoso can also be someone who is skilled in any artistic pursuit. And although music may be the auto default for G.O (for good reason), I think it can apply to him across many of his artistic endeavors. For the purpose of this countdown series however, I chose to single out his virtuosity as a vocalist. Today I want to fall into G.O’s incredibly smooth and sensual vocal stylings as captured in the opening track of Ty Project No. 1, Intro, because it is exactly what some of us can use right now to soothe our souls, and heat up these cold winter days.
Ever since acquainting myself with G.O and learning a little bit about his artistic journey, I have been on a quest to find as many copies of Tykeys’ Ty Project No. 1, literally the first full studio album he recorded (to my knowledge any way). When I find a copy, I buy it. This past week, I found another copy so that always seems to ignite my desire to revisit Tykeys’ performances and it occurred to me that 연상연하 [Old & Young], one of the two singles released from the album was a perfect candidate for a Vocal Virtuosity moment. Specifically, the live performance from the Tykeys showcase way back in February or March 2007. The studio version is great. But my favorite live version, vocally speaking, is the showcase performance. Continue reading
I am sorry but lately Tykeys have commandeered my playlists and when that happens, I invariably want to share the greatness of G.O’s work. Even though I recently shared an I’m Sorry clip, I am traveling down that road once more here today as there can never be too much vocal virtuosity in an eight day span. I think G.O’s recent (and nostalgic) update where he posted a picture of himself from his Tykeys’ days has triggered my desire to revisit the memories and the music. Today a short clip of I’m Sorry (yes, again) from Tykey’s visit to the SBS Power FM Cultwo Show back on 2 August 2007.
I am one of G.O’s fans who has a healthy appreciation for the creative collaboration and subsequent music that was born during his time with Tykeys. Every song, including Su’s solo work, is a candidate for the Vocal Virtuosity list. Every single one. Lately, R&B has taken a firmer foothold in South Korea (much to my delight); however, back in 2007, it did not get the exposure and respect it deserved. Inasmuch as Ty Project No. 1 was an amazing album, in my opinion, it never got proper recognition, promotion and airplay. I listen to it quite a bit so it gets lots of airplay in my house! Often when I am listening to it, I long to hear the present and seasoned vocalist G.O sing the songs of that album. The closest we actually came to that was when G.O appeared with rapper Nassun on Trend-E’s The Muzit show back on 9 October 2010 wherein he sang 22 seconds of Tykeys’ first single, I’m Sorry. And it was twenty-two seconds of absolute vocal virtuosity.
Tonight 우리 사이 어떻게 하죠
[Tonight, what do we do about our relationship?]
자꾸 화만 내는 그대가
[You keep getting mad]
이제는 더 지쳐 가네요
[And I’m getting tired of it now]
나는 정말 어떡해요 난
[What should I do?]
These are words I would think no one would ever want to hear from their beloved. It is a pierce to the heart alone hearing them from G.O; yet, he is dutifully in charge of those lyrics in the lithe and rhythmic break up song, 우리 사이 [Our Relationship], from MBLAQ’s masterpiece 6th mini album, Broken. Even though it is heartbreaking for me to hear G.O sing these words, my ears incessantly argue with my heart. G.O’s vocals are mellifluous and flawless, with his improvisational runs particularly beautiful. With that, even though this is a gorgeous group effort, I still place it squarely in the G.O Vocal Virtuosity category here on the countdown.
Just tell me how . . . how I can rid my heart of this pain? Just tell me how, how did I not see the love right here in front of me? Just tell me how, how it is that I have only seen you as a friend? Just tell me how, how is it that I love you now? This seems to be the running theme of Tykeys’ gospel-infused R&B song, 말해버려 [Just Tell Me], one of my absolute favorite cuts on the incredibly rich and neo-soulifric Ty Project No. 1. Every song on this wonderful album that features G.O’s expressive and impassioned vocals is a Vocal Virtuosity moment and I am thrilled to have the time to expose all of them before he concludes his military service.
I know that MBLAQ’s heart-wrenching break up song 녹 [Rust] is an absolute group effort but I cannot help but single out G.O’s haunting vocals in the unplugged version that was the closing song on the group’s last recorded album as a five-man group, Winter. The level of sorrow heard in his voice is palatable. Admittedly, I could not listen to the song for a long time. I found it to be extremely telling with regard to circumstances the group was facing at the time the album was released. For me, there will always be sadness connected to Rust, but I cannot deny the absolute beauty of G.O’s voice which among the five, carries the most honesty in interpreting the heartache of a break up. I am biased indeed – but if you listen closely, you will hear it as well, and agree. In all of its sadness, it is another amazing G.O Vocal Virtuosity moment.
Today I ask for forgiveness for just taking an easy route to admire G.O. Yes, something simple. For today, Day 386, I simply want to admire his perfect profile and quiet beauty as captured through the lens of my favorite G.O photographer, A Lucky Day.