[Critics Review] Cine 21 Magazine: More critics praise Taeyang’s SOLAR album


A series of critics who reviewed SOLAR speak about the album~ These are must reads, as most of these are top honchos in the music critics arena….

Kim Hakseon (music webzine Boda’s chief editor) ★★★★
We’re witnessing a person who is realizing his dream from being an idol to his current stage. Taeyang’s SOLAR is this proof. His vocals have become more expressive and deeper and the musical breadth is much wider. In a few words, it’s a good R&B album. Congratulations on putting your name on the “AWESOME” list in the domestic R&B scene in the list made by Deez and Jinbo!

Cha Woojin (popular music critic) ★★★
There is obviously a strong impression that he tried to maintain a balance between what the company wanted and what he wanted. So sometimes, it sounds simple. But even though songs like “Look Only at Me” are not on this album, I can’t say that I haven’t understood him till now. I believe that having accuracy in shooting with consistency is more important than shooting very high all at once (in other words, he says that its better to rise slowly than be at the top all at once). So I think it’s a good start.

Lee Minhee (music webzine 100beat’s editor) ★★★☆
YG can aim to reach the R&B Billboards with  an ideal model in Taeyang who can vouch and represent the companies growing sound technology. The producers didn’t just make this album in a rush or dull. Rather, there is an elastic rhythm and polished eclectic melody to the voice of the meticulous entertainer who puts his heart and soul into every breath of dancing and singing. This is an unconventional album. It is a piece of the company, the singer and the audience, where everyone can share their peace and satisfaction. It’s the buttery lyrics of “I Need a Girl” stand out alone.

Kim dohun (songwriter) ★★★☆
If G-dragon is Big Bang’s everchanging hairstyle, then Taeyang is Big Bang’s hidden abs. After the short novel “HOT”, the first full length book “SOLAR” is a piece that shows YG’s producing ability which takes on and absorbs American R&B. Taeyang’s capability to control his own musical ambitions were thoroughly harmonized in this album. Besides, it shows the sensual side of young males reaching the age of 20.

Reviewed in Hot Tracks magazine
Scanned by BBVIPZ
Translations by MYOKOON@ALWAYSTAEYANG (do not remove credit)

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32 thoughts on “[Critics Review] Cine 21 Magazine: More critics praise Taeyang’s SOLAR album”

  1. Wow….I’m so grateful that YB is receiving so much praise from the music critics. Although he’s not that popular amongst the fans, critics know exactly what he was trying to convey with this album and are praising him for it. Good job YB!!!!

    “If G-Dragon is Big Bang’s ever-changing hairstyle, then Taeyang is Big Bang’s hidden abs”-LOVE this saying…..haha.
    Based on outside appearances, GD is the outspoken leader but YB is the hidden strength of Big Bang.

    1. YB is the hidden strength of Big Bang? I which aspect? What are the things that other members can’t do that YB can do?

      1. I meant that he’s the one that supports them. Whenever GD yells at them, he’s the one that goes and makes sure they’re okay. Even though he’s not in the limelight often, he’s the type that would ensure the members are feeling okay or whatever.

  2. This is so awesome. I am so happy right now. YB worked so hard on this album and to get this much praise so early on is a huge accomplishment. SOLAR is a wonderful album. What a great start for YB’s musical ambitions.

  3. Wow. He is getting so much recognition. I’m so proud and I agree with ygtaeyangbb and kay….I love that line too. Go yb and yg entertainment!

  4. i’m happy to read all this critics. i thing it worth it because YB work so hard to make this album successfully and satisfied to himself, company and fans.
    I’m proud of you Dong Young Bae. I wish all your dream comes true and i’ll support you *__^

  5. Thank you so much for translating these reviews. I felt truly happy to see critics supporting Bae’s solo career.

    I too think he’s still got a long way to go before we can say he has reached his peak, but nevertheless, it is delightful to see him slowly mature as both a man and a singer.

    Hopefully, our Bae will continue to stay true to his convictions and improving even more as time passes by.

  6. I think this line “Congratulations on putting your name on the “AWESOME” list in the domestic R&B scene in the list made by Deez and Jinbo!” struck me the most. YB is not just didn’t just make an idol vanity project, he is leaving his footprint in the the domestic R&B scene.

    Not only that I think he really has legitimized his international R&B hype. He is just awesome.

    I think one of the things I am liking about the reviews too is the recognition that YB put out a complete album one that can be, and is MEANT TO BE listened to from start to finish. This is rare not just in k-music but in western music as well where so much is dependent on having that one hot single to “encourage” people to buy the album.

    I, of course put Tae on the awesome list even with just the teasers, but I also every time I listen I want to listen to every song, over and over and over and over like a drug. To me that is the indelible sign of not just good songs, but a well thought out album and I think that the critics are reflecting and appreciating that aspect of YB’s masterpiece, Solar.

    1. I agree. I finally sat down and listened to the entire album, start to finish, with no distractions and it really struck me HOW MUCH his songs have their own sound. Sometimes you don’t realize it but there is something so distinct in each song that makes it a Taeyang song and I was just struck by how much I had missed while listening to the song without paying attention. There are definitely tracks of HOT in this album, its just in a different form.

    2. There’s so much I agree with in your comment I don’t know where to begin….

      I fully agree that its rare when you get a good album as compared with a good collection of singles. HOT was a fantastic EP and Solar is an equally solid album, though its merits are not as immediately obvious as HOT. HOT had a much clearer musical signature and theme which makes Solar seem more scattered in comparison. What makes Solar a good album for me is the clear reflection of YB’s personal taste and style in all the tracks. His focused musical preferences (for old school soul and R&B) and vocal style is so strong that it binds together what could have otherwise become a mishmash of catchy beats and melodies.

      I also find it fantastic that the best reviews for the album are from those who listen intently to a lot of music. (Because as we’ve all said before, YB’s music reveals the best part of itself through repeated listens.) Critics and other musicians have given him good marks and are taking him seriously as an artist, not just a pop star or idol, but also understand that he has to make some concessions for that. And I really like what you said about legitimizing what could have easily been an idol vanity project…

      Considering how good the music is, it becomes even more impressive when you consider what YB has done in terms of performance. His choreography is unique and top notch, he did away with the flashy performance outfits and concentrated on putting on a good show and kept his signature style while making a distinction from his past work.

      I am so proud that people who matter are taking notice of him in a positive way. I really hope that the general public will also give YB a chance by listening beyond the title song.

      1. Loved your comment.

        I also have to add, this is what makes Taeyang a “celebrity” for celebrities – as Korean fans have aptly named this….as you’ll read in Cha Woo Jin’s more detailed review I’ll post later, he describes why even celebrities are drawn to him~

        Am I tempting you much?

        1. Oh my, You’re tempting me.

          It seems like Taeyang has more celebrity fans than he has of normal fans. lol. j/k.

          I really can’t wait for that translation!

        2. oh kay! i’ll read it first before i make further comments…

          first, CONGRATULATIONS to Taeyang,,, I am so proud to be a fan and thankful that he’s receiving much praises from critics that would help korean people understand Taeyang sound better…

    3. First off, I have to say a big thanks to Myokoon for diligently translating these articles/reviews. I’ve been very interested in what the critics thought of YB’s album considering how well they took it last time.

      Second great comments. I wholehearted agree with everything. I feel like I’ve been overly critical almost unfair to Youngbae and this album mainly because I was, admittedly, expecting him to come out with something compelling as ‘HOT,’ and refused to take ‘SOLAR’ for what it was – another great album. I didn’t give him any credit for his improved vocals and challenge of taking on such a diverse album in the fickle industry that he is in. Consequently this statement by Chawoojin really stood out to me: “I believe that having accuracy in shooting with consistency is more important than shooting very high all at once It is true. Consistency and longevity is key. I feel like Taeyang puts this quality in everything he produces from music to choreography to performance. On the long run, this quality will take him far and prove to be more valuable.

      I really like this comment by tazanya “Not only that I think he really has legitimized his international R&B hype.” Yes! R&B/Hip Hop is such a international phenomenon and Youngbae represents it well because he doesn’t just copy the music/sounds out there, rather he is inspired by them, digests it, and produces something that only he can sing, only he is the best at. Imagine, “Look Only At Me” in English? Even with those countless english covers of “Wedding Dress” you can’t deny that they’re nothing like the original. Taeyang pays respects to the roots of the music he is doing yet creates something that in turn informs the original genre.

      As bluemaid said, it makes me real happy that Taeyang’s music is continually being praised and loved by critics – people who listen to music for what it is – music. Heck, it makes me happy that they take him seriously as an artist to critique him. More so it makes me happy that Taeyang has fans (like you all!) who really appreciate every aspect of his music – the entire package, rather than just the title song or the flashy performance. I think that says a lot already. Moments like these, I’m not bothered by the fact that Taeyang isn’t on the top of the music charts.

      PS. It’s interesting how many of these critics, recognize the compromise Taeyang had to make to please the company while maintaining his own sound. LOL.

      1. Oh Kay can’t wait, sounds tempting indeed.

        Agreed, the consistency statement is definitely was my second favorite. We all know YB could have made a second HOT album, but he fought to make Solar all his. Like he said, he gets his influences from other artists but the rest is 100% him. He does not copy anyone. I appreciate that element in his music, its why I can proudly allow anyone to listen to his songs and know even if they don’t become a YB stan, they can appreciate the music’s quality the great singing and complex production.

        It’s like Coco Chanel said, look in the mirror before you go out and remove one accessory. Today’s music is so overproduced.. put everything and anything in the track to excite people. Instead, Bae removed things, simplified his sound (yet retained the layered production), and let his voice and emotions excite people rather than theatrical production elements. Same goes with his performances, he could dress in some ultra-modern “edgy” outfit and rock out on some super elaborate extravagant stage, we know YGE could pull it off, but YB is not about that, his performances are so refreshing because we actually get to see all the complex choreography without it distracting us from the great song/vocals. Like bluemaid said the album is a package of well-thought out elements, that are all quintessentially Tae Yang. They reflect so well his ongoing personal and profession growth.

        @tofu — I had some of those same sentiments. I too liked but did not love the album on the first listen. My fangirl heart thought it was awesome, more for my happiness in seeing YB so happy than in my actual LOVE of the album. It was my fault for not listening to it all the way through completely. Also, I kinda let some of the twitter noise get in my head. Once all that died down and I just streamed it, over and over and over again on Itunes and Soribada [for days, I still listen to the whole album at least once a day]. It really was like a lightbulb went off and I simply fell in total love with every song. I became so very proud of YB. I know there are some “fans” who wanted every song to be LOAM/WD type songs, I am so glad of the creative direction YB took. You feel the battle that it took for him to put this album out in his interviews and in the album itself. He sings every syllable from his soul. Even if you don’t like it, it commands respect, no?

        What is also reflected by the critics is this sense that this album makes them eager to see what’s next. It leaves you wanting more. When you get to Take it Slow, you wish the album wasn’t over. How cool of feeling is that to leave on a person. Way to go Young Bae, so proud.

    4. I’m liking this discussion so much because it reflects a lot of what I feel (but don’t get to write because, face it, my essays are long enough.) Thanks for sharing, y’all. YB fans are awesome! Good music (and active listening) FTW!

  7. I’m loving all these positive comments from critics, and it’s great that they’re not taking YB as an idol, but a true artist.

    I was wondering how the critics will think of it, as the fans and general public seemed to have mixed reactions towards it…

    These reviews just tells me that YB has finally gotten credit where it’s due. His hard work, his live performances, his choreo, and of course the work he put into this album…. has finally paid off.

    Critics are seeing him grow as an artist, and that he’s putting his mark in Korean R&B with this album!

    I think I’m on cloud nine, all these good news are making me so happy!

    Like Tofu said, it’s funny how the critics know enough about the music industry and YG as a business that they knew it must’ve taken a lot of persistence for YB to create the beautiful album SOLAR…. They aren’t called critics for nothing! LOL~

    Out of all the reviews, I found this quote the most significant for me believe that having accuracy in shooting with consistency is more important than shooting very high all at once

    Hitting the No.1 spot in music charts is not everything… There’s the key word QUALITY! (Bae Bae’s word of the day? YGTV anyone? XD)

    YB has always put on quality performances, music, the whole package really. I’m so happy and proud to be his fan… it may not be a few years until he is internationally recognised, but with this album… it’s a start of very exciting beginnings~

    Consistency and quality~

    Fighting Dong Young Bae!!!! Am really so happy for you (repeated this so many times, but I’m overjoyed~~~ >w<)

  8. Kim dohun (songwriter) ★★★☆
    If G-dragon is Big Bang’s everchanging hairstyle, then Taeyang is Big Bang’s hidden abs.

    ROFL. ^^

    Anyway, nice reviews. this is a 5-star kinda review right? I’d give it 4.5 if i were a critic. can’t give it a full one since i hate his falsetto in You’re My.
    I love how they are saying that he’s growing and he’s not rushing it. seems like Bae is a real artist now in front of their eyes. Funny though how this good reviews come after Bae hitting high on international charts.

  9. Let me tell you guys a funny story of how I fell in love with this album…

    At first, I wasnt charmed by SOLAR at all. (but i looked up the english translations of each song online and the one that stood out the most was the lyrics of “After You Fall Asleep”) I thought the most promising song from that album was the SOLAR intro. but then that’s not really considered a song since that’s only an intro. when i bought the album from itunes, i didnt listen to it right away. as a music lover, im used to listening to music that doesnt sound much appealing to a lot people but in my own way, find it very good. one night i was listening to After You Fall Asleep (i put it on repeat coz i like the 1st part a lot), I fell asleep and I woke dreaming about Tae Yang cheating on me with a lot of girls.

    It was kinda funny, I was in our bedroom, he was making me fall asleep by singing his song “You’re My”, cuddling & feeling my hair & everything then suddenly his singing started to get rough & he went “whoa” & then he had a nice suit on then he started singing in front of our mirror then he looked out the window & this gigantic bird flew above him and he sang “fly like a bird bird”. I didn’t understand what he was saying coz it was in korean… anyway he went to the window & JUMPED. literally jumped. but then he flew… like a bird. and this disco music came & he looked really cool with all these other girls dancing around him & drinking w/ his buddies. then he took this one girl to a room at this expensive looking hotel & the way he closed the door was really BOOM, like you just KNOW what they’re about to do there. then this other guy started rapping, he had a really cool voice. I was in our bedroom, still sleeping when i felt cold from the wind from the open window, which woke me up. then i noticed tae yang wasnt there. Tae Yang meanwhile saw the clock & realized that it was 4am, so he put on his clothes & flew back home. when he came back, i was on the bed, pretending to sleep. he slipped on his pajamas very quietly when the music started to get softer. i teared up because i knew what was going on. he hugged me as prepares himself to sleep. I tried to escape from his arms & accidentally let out a whimper that i didnt want him to hear. but he just hugged me tighter, like i was some kind of prisoner, pretending that he was already asleep. then i (silently) cried some more and that’s when i woke up, feeling like i just woke up from a nightmare.

    lmao i don’t know if any of you will understand everything that i’ve just described, but while i was (unknowingly) listening to “After You Fall Asleep” while i was asleep, my mind went on this crazy production of its own music video for that song AYFA. since i already knew the message of the song & i daydream about these kinds of stuff sometimes, i guess my mind took care of the story 😄 i tried to remember as much as i could after i woke up, it was just that epic. i wish i had the resources to make a video for this song. but anyway after that, i realized that each song from the SOLAR album are well thought of. i listened to each song & felt the charm of each one. I finally understood what each song was trying to convey. from the smallest beat change to Tae Yang’s background vocals to the lyrics to the timing. after that night I got the SOLAR FEVER. i pride myself on knowing good music, as some of my friends & families often discover fantastic musicians thru me. it’s just that when i listen to a song or an album, it’s what i listen to for MONTHS. i get that obsessed. i listen to every detail. if i knew korean, i think i would’ve more attached to this album. so for not even knowing korean and yet still have managed to capture its charm, i give this album a LOT of stars. 😛

    sorry this was too long 😄

  10. ROFL. nice one!!

    “it’s just that when i listen to a song or an album, it’s what i listen to for MONTHS. i get that obsessed. i listen to every detail. if i knew korean, i think i would’ve more attached to this album. so for not even knowing korean and yet still have managed to capture its charm, i give this album a LOT of stars. :P”

    you’re not alone, PURR. that’s what happening to me right now.

  11. i don’t know if i said this before … bur i honestly LOVE this site and everyone that comment in it 🙂

    compared to other sites that i go to for bb where i just skip all the comments , i love reading them here , i think they show the level of mutuality and musical understanding that TY fans have … i mean the critics reviews are really great and spot on when it comes what taeyang wanted out of this album but reading through the comments here i realized this site have a few critics of it’s on which make there statement more valuable … ( am probable not making much sense )

    and like someone said before me it’s a given to love something because you loved the person that made it or lie to yourself about it but this isn’t the case here 🙂

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