[Critics Review] 100 beats, a review by Kim Bong Hyun


EDIT: Kim Bong Hyun, himself tweeted ATY’s entry of his review on his Twitter and not only that linked back to us on his personal blog. Check it out! He writes, if he knew his review was going to be passed around and translated, he would’ve made a more professional graph of the R&B “Trinity.”  Funny man.  (Well at least that’s what I think he’s saying. lol) ATY is going places. 🙂

Sorry, I know this is translated elsewhere, but Myokoon had this done a while ago, it’s only right I post her interpretation of this article. Enjoy, its fantastic!

Original Aricle on KBH’s blog.

Based on the premise, that this is only my personal opinion, as a person of the committee, when Taeyang won the double prize of the best R&B/Soul category, at the 6th Korean music awards (even though I wrote a comment about the album as a “selector” for the album), I thought it was a ‘a bit much’. I totally agree that “Look Only at Me” deserved the best song field. But I thought, HOT, was not the best representation that year of R&B music. The result, I thought, was made by ‘the circumstances’ and was used to for ‘supporting and encouraging’ the artist.

It doesn’t mean I was dissatisfied. Because to a certain extent, circumstances and conditions vary each year. I was just worried a little. It may be groundless, but I was worried if the results would give Taeyang the wrong signal and make him almost conceited. After listening to SOLAR though, I was confirmed in his growth through this album.

I will say my attitude about this album like this, “throw away unsubstantial overexpectations”. Its not that I look down on him. I mean, we should look back at the reasons why we have expectations for him. Have we had expectations because Taeyang has this master-artisan experience or because he already is pursuing this deep R&B soul? No. Having expectations was because of this “potential” he had. We’re sorry that for him, that his good voice has been overshadowed during the group activities and we can see his own musical greed that’s distinct from the group and his talents that made us believe in this “greed” that is realizable. These have formed our expectations for Taeyang. That is, we’ve seen his chances and expect a result from them.

Seeing this context, SOLAR is a fairly outstanding result. Instead of basing it on the idea that there are a lot of master-artisans, let’s gaze at a solo musician which Taeyang has started out at and processed as at the same level. If you can do that, then you would find that this album is cheerful and he has step foot again in the direction of your expectation.

In many respects, Taeyang is enough to be called an American R&B musician, almost the Korean version of “Trey Songs”. As Taeyang sometimes shouts out the phrase “Yup” that Trey Songz commonly does, Taeyang is certainly his perfect  imitations. I’m only joking, but Taeyang has many things similar to this American artist. To be accurate, Taeyang is Trey Songz, but a clean version, or a under 15 edition. Because Taeyang can’t sing songs like ‘Neighbours Know my Name’ for reasons we all understand.

Trey Songz has a talent for assimilating from sensual slow jam to obvious pop. Let’s look into his last work [Ready]. An intense and sloppy slow jam ‘Neighbors Know My Name’, glossy danceable maintream R&B ‘I Invented Sex’ and ‘Say Aah’, it’s more near pop rather than R&B – ‘I need a girl’, can be grouped with these.

Taeyang’s album is the same. Teddy’s neat mainstream uptempo R&B ‘Move’ that reminds us of the producing duo. The Runners’ sound, ‘You’re my’ and ‘Take is slow’ which are slow jams, a pop track ‘Just a feeling’ that have a scent of producing team Stargate, and so on, are all contained in here. Different from Trey Songz, who rattles off sloppy stories on bed. ‘I Need A Girl’ is an urban R&B, like bubble gum that as an honest boy, Dong youngbae, who has never gone out, could have to sing for  his fangirls, of course.

So, two of the above albums are a kind of assorted gift set. Of course, this characteristic is not only of two of them. But we should take notice of that the two vocalists are free to cross the boundary between R&B/soul and pop. In other words, even though their vocals have clear tones and straight styles, they are good at R&B/soul which requires deep & steeped voice (like Trey songz), or not awkward at least (unlike Taeyang).

Putting this into the ‘local’, Korea, Taeyang secures his own identity. The meaning becomes clear when we think of how many vocalists there are in Korea, who can assimilate both R&B/soul and pop ‘well’ and fit each atmosphere, keeping his own individuality. I don’t know it will come to gains or losses in the future, but it’s Taeyang’s competitiveness and the world is a blue ocean.

[Solar] proves many things. It proves YG’s producers are still making high quality ‘R&B/Soul music’, and Taeyang has continually practiced singing, and what charm and advantages Taeyang has as a musician. But above all, in this album, Taeyang proves he is ‘growing up’. Taeyang is not the best, but trying to be the best. I hope watching his growth to be pleasing now and forever.

PS1. But nevertheless, ‘After you fall asleep’ should not be in here, and ‘You’re my”s falsetto is shocking in a negative meaning. I was very shocked when listening first.

PS2. Jeon Goon who composed ‘I Need a Girl’ is a well-known person among R&B enthusiasts. He’s from a ‘R&B/Soul music’, creation society, SNP. Listening to ‘I Need a Girl’ and seeing the lyrics as well as the music, I knew that Jeon Goon has been listening to native R&B consistently. These are not childish lyrics scribbled without knowing much, these are lyrics written with controlled intentional expressions and limits.

PS. In addition to Jinbo and Deez, is the Korean R&B trinity completed like this? Of course, Taeyang’s capability didn’t reach two of them that is, but it’s a positive omen, that as many as three compacted R&B albums which have each different position were released in the first half of this year. I cheer for Boni and Soulman, too (let me listen to your full album, please).

Kim Bonghyun made this graph lol

2010 상반기 한국 알앤비 분석 : the first half of 2010 Korean R&B analysis

내공 : experienced, seasoned

대중성: popular

진보 : Jinbo

디즈 : Deez

태양 : Taeyang

Translations by MYOKOON@ALWAYSTAEYANG (do not remove credit)
Original article HERE

41 thoughts on “[Critics Review] 100 beats, a review by Kim Bong Hyun”

  1. Found the Trey Songz comparison particularly interesting; any dibs on some sort of collaboration ? ^^

      1. haha no no not the song lol; the bit about Taeyang being the Korean version of Trey songz & the imitations.

  2. That was one long read! LOL I had to read and re-read so many sentences to understand exactly what the author was trying to say.
    Comparing taeyang w/ trey songz is interesting to me..personally I would’ve compared YB w/ someone like NeYo… both have RnB roots, w/ a flair of pop.
    I dont think ppl will ever stop having expectations of taeyang, like-wise, I dont think taeyang will ever get too ‘conceited’, as the writer pointed out.
    and LOL at the graph…I’d like to see how it changes when YB releases his next solo album. Considering that taeyang is now aware of his international market and fanbase, and considering he will get older… I think he;ll delve into more (as used by the author) “sloppy” songs…btw what does “sloppy” even mean?? lmaoo I found that word..and the context it was used in hilarious.
    All in all, great read 🙂
    (but I do have to say that I was shocked w. the falsettos in “You’re My” too…I wonder why he decided to sing it like that??)
    OH, one more thing, what does this sentence mean?
    “‘After you fall asleep’ had better not be contained”??

    1. It’s been edited..he meant that he didn’t think the song should be out in the album (or out in the public at all lol).

      I don’t really like the Trey Songz comparison, I feel like there are other more suitable artists Taeyang can be compared too however I udnerstand what he’s trying to say with how both artists have the ability to take on a different style – like pop- whilst still maintaining deep R&B roots….

      1. Well, I can understand why he might say that about AYFA since the theme of the lyric (about wanting to cheat) is out of place considering all the other songs in the album (which are all love songs.) But AYFA is a really good song though, so I’m glad it made the cut…

        I don’t exactly get the Trey Songz comparison in terms of sound but I guess he makes the point in terms of versatility? LOL at the references to YB as the Disney version of Trey Songz.

      2. wow.. After you fall Asleep is one one of my fav tracks on the album. how come? the lyrics?composition?..doesn’t suit the album??…hmmm…that’s interesting..

      3. I think the Trey Songz comparison is apt for the reasons bluemaid brought up. I think it’s their versatility that unites them – moving smoothly between pop and deep R&B. I really don’t mind this comparison…though I will admit it’s obscure. I for one love Trey Songz. He’s know for his really sexual (but very hot, I admit) songs like “I Invented Sex” etc, but the rest of his album, ‘Ready’, had really great tracks like “Black Roses” and “Jupiter Love” and my fave “One Love.”

        If Taeyang covered “One Love” I would die one happy fangirl.

        Its a shame he didn’t like “After you fall asleep.” I thought Taeyang’s vocals were perfect in this track. PERFECT.

  3. lol @ dark angry goodness (from original post ),

    Love the graphic, that is really cool so TY in the running for best R&B album, good luck.

    I should be working on motions, but instead I am marinating in these wonderful reviews. I say wonderful, because they are not full of fangirly over-exaggeration but true assessment of both the wonders of the current place TY stands musically, ie an open critiques of Solar and also a desire to be present for the future of possibilities for TY that will be the true legacy of Solar. I love how Solar is leaving fans and artists hungry for more from TY. That’s is exactly how I feel when I get to Take it Slow.. I just dont want it to end.

    Solar to me is an album of anticipation. HOT was that driving away from home heading to college freshman year. Solar is junior year, you finally get this college thing, your experimenting, your comfortable, you have your set friends, maybe even moved off campus. I can’t wait to see senior year and grad school from TY. lol.

    On a side note, I am grateful for this line, “SOLAR’ proves us a lot of things. It proves that YG’s production team is still producing good soul music; ” YG and Teddy get so much flack from all sides about their production, I think its a combination of high high expectations from YG and also alot of haters who just want to tear them down. Anyway, they work really hard and put out such a diverse kaleidoscopic of music. I am grateful for this critic acknowledging the talent of the YG producers.

    1. Word.

      I love the college analogy.

      I agree…….SOLAR is anticipation. It’s like him saying, “Yeah, I can do this, and I can go here and do this, and you might not like this but I’m going to do it anyway and does this make you want more..okay wait till my next album”….

      He’s such a tease.

      I saw a lot of comments being thrown around in an Allkpop article where people were calling VIP’s “Elitists” and it got me thinking how its the fans who kinda made em that way. Expectations from YG, are like, beyond enormous. I think its the long string of hits that have been produced that no one expects anything bad from them and if something is…well it just can’t be. Which is why I like this article and all critic reviews, it reinforces my thoughts about INAG. I still maintain, it is not the best track that could have been put out by YB but as I said, its give or take with this boy and I also think, YG/YB need constructive criticism to grow. YB is blessed to have so many critics who can really show their perspectives on music. Rarely do “idol” artists get this much time from hardcore music critics.

    2. I love your analogy! I think it summed up beautifully the current mindset taeyang is in right now 🙂

  4. Interesting…so he didn’t believe that YB should have won the RnB awards? Hmmm…

    Well at least he doesn’t write YB off so quickly. He acknowledges that YB isn’t the best, but sure is working hard to be the best. Which means that the critic acknowledges that YB has the potential to become the best.

    Don’t like the Trey Songz comparison but at least it’s better than the Chris Brown comparison that always comes up.

    What did he mean about AYFA shouldn’t have been in here? Does he mean just due to the lyrics? Or did he truly feel that the song was bad? Because personally, that’s one of my favorite songs on the album.
    Agree with him about “You’re My”. The song was meh to me….probably my least favorite on the whole album. The falsetto was pretty off-putting but give it up to YB for trying something new.

  5. I so agree with the little comment Kim Bong Hyun made about ‘You’re My’. I love the first minute of it, but the falsetto is just a total mess. It sort of reminded me of this one time I heard YB awfully struggling onstage to sing some Japanese song from Big Bang that was simply beyond his vocal range. He really needs to work on that as well on strengthening his vocals even more. I’m sure he’ll improve as time goes on though.

    Also, I am thankful that someone finally remembered to mention Jeon Goon. He was a great addition to the production team of Solar in my opinion. I simply love that unadulterated, rich, and soulful feeling his compositions have. His sound is just totally different to that of Teddy and adds a pure R&B vibe to the album as well as variety.

    And lastly, I can’t believe YB’s name is right there next to Deez’s and Jinbo’s. This means he is truly being acknowledged as an R&B singer! I seriously hope all three of them make great contributions to the local R&B scene.

    Once again, thank you for translating and sharing these news with all of us. You guys are the best.

    1. When I saw that picture and those names, I was reeling for Youngbae’s sake. Jinbo and Deez are both really legit underground artists. Before SOLAR come out I had Deez’s album on fricken repeat. He too as such a soulful voice and really does great R&B even though it’s a different school of R&B. (Hope someday Taeyang takes on something like that too) But really, these two are soooo good and to have Taeyang be part of this ‘Trinity” is such an honor almost for Considering how much criticism”idols” (I hate that word on Taeyang) get for lacking so much artistic merit, it’s almost unbelievable that Taeyang would be compared to these artists. Boni and Soulman too….so damn legit.

      1. Seriously, those two guys are pretty damn good and very respected in the underground scene. I was like you, too, tofu – reeling from the comparison. ^^ ATYers should check them out if you get a chance.

  6. originally my fav song was Breakdown but for some reason i’ve now totally shifted to INAG…thatt tune has a way of creeping up on u and grabbing u when u least expect it and before u know it its become the number one shower anthem, cooking anthem(yes i sing when i cook lol)…so much like HEY YA when it first came out i was like whats all the fuss, this tune is terrible! but a few listens later i was totally hooked!
    so yeah I still maintain INAG was def the right choice…well for me and YB atleast ; ) and congratulations on the triple crown YB!

  7. i actually like the trey songz comparison…i’ve always noticed the ‘yerp’ or ‘yup’ that they both have. maybe cuz im a fan of both loll.
    The content of their lyrics are very different b/c of their different environments. As artists, theyre similar. They both have amazing bodies and the manly vibe. they both have music that’s r&b and pop. They both have deep soulful voices, like the reviewer said. thats pretty much it tho. I don’t like comparing taeyang to just one American artist. He’s his own artist and person. I can see how he’s like Ne-yo and usher. I love his Michael Jackson influences though. And almost every artist, especially r&b are influenced by him–that’s probably where we see the similarities..
    wow so this was really long… lmao

  8. OMFG. Kim Hyun Bong, the man himself, just tweeted this entry and ATY on his twitter!!!!!

    Dunno why, but this makes me ecstatic!!! Ahhhhhh!

    1. I just saw that!!!
      Omooooo sooooo friggin exciting
      I’m soo happy for this site…and for taeyang ^^
      awesome!

    2. I just want to do a happy dance for ATY, excellence in blogging paying off with great dividends. Good Job you guys.

  9. I like what he said. He is truly saying what all of us at ATY and all us YB fans have been feeling, that there is so much potential with YB. We all know SOLAR isn’t perfect but it’s a step in the right direction. Boy got to compose, experiment and show off different sides of himself and his vocal range. The album is much more dynamic than HOT was in terms of what he was trying to do with it and he experimented more with his vocals.

    SOLAR makes me really really excited for his next album/mini-album especially considering he will likely have some romantic experience to back him. That will also help him with composing and lyrics.

    One of my biggest wish is to see him experiment more with composing and producing. Right now he’s working a lot with the piano but I want him to branch out – we all know YB’s hunger for music and I hope we can see more of that in the production side, also hope he starts producing/composing for BB and other YG artist too in the future (Hope he takes after his fav hyung Teddy and see the benefit of that). YB said he’s a love of classical music so I hope to hear some live orchestra type on the next album (lol, talking about a next album when he just finished this one). Listening to Take It Slow and some of the other songs on the album, I feel like there is so much more potential for him in terms of production if he keeps working hard at it – the songs he helped composed were beautiful.

    I know it’s going to be a while before he has another album (hopefully 2012 since GD is rumored to be coming out with an album next year). We can’t be too greedy since the other 3 members of BB deserve a chance to have their own albums as well for fairness sakes. I’m so happy to be a fan of YB and see where he goes. So much potential.

  10. ‘I Need A Girl’ is an urban R&B, like bubble gum that as an honest boy, Dong youngbae, who has never gone out, could have to sing for his fangirls, of course.

    KEKEKEKEKE.

    nice review. and i totally agree, yb needs room from improvement.

  11. I’m probably one of the weird ones who actually liked the high falsettos in You’re My, although I have to admit I was turned off the first time… but as I listened, I felt so much emotion in it…
    Anyway, I do understand where he is coming from with the Trey Songz comparison – the mixture of sounds and diversity of R&B. What I find funny from all these reviews is how different critics try to compare Solar to totally different giants in the R&B scene, and each time they do, there’s a feeling that there’s still something’s off from the comparison. Maybe it’s due to his broader range this time…. or maybe he is just able to hold his own already? successful assimilate different sounds to his own? I really wonder…
    Whatever it is, Taeyang is certainly on his way to becoming a big name in the local Korean R&B scene. Is it too much if I say I can picture his name mentioned in 20 years time as one of “the artist who influenced the R&B scene in Korea”? a legend in Korea’s music scene maybe…… =D *dreaming*

    (AYFA being off, is probably because of the lyrics, not the music…since the album’s all about sweet love and then suddenly there’s cheating… makes it feel like theme or the “story” is off…at least that’s what i think)

    1. I thought AYFA was off because it’s more pop than R&B. It’s very electro-pop rather than the hip hop/R&B/Soul the album was going for. Still a great song though.

  12. what does he mean that AYFA should not be in the album?
    i love that song.and swing’s rap was dope.
    although i like listening to INAG,i still think that it shouldn’t be the title track.
    i listen to ALL the songs in this album(i think TIS was being played 1000x) ,but i still cringe everytime YB hit falsetto in your my.

  13. There was a lot going on in my mind when i read the interview for the second time. i realized that there were some points where i had to agree with him like the falsetto part in You’re My, the fact that TY’s not the best yet but he’s trying to be, how good the album is and how his singing has improved.

    More importantly, the graph he drew is on-point though it did make me feel comfortable, with Taeyang being the lowest out of the three, in terms of “experienced and seasoned”, but it is the truth and i cannot deny that. YB, being an idol still, doesn’t have a complete control over his own album completely. Also, he has so much more to learn and improve. but with his fan base (the effect of being an idol) makes him more popular and easier to reach to the audience. hopefully, one day, we get to see YB’s growth both as an experienced and popular artist.

    Another thing that made me uncomfortable is the fact that YB was not supposed to win the best r&b award, however i cannot disagree because okay.. i have not heard a single thing from other r&b artist in korea but it is very possible that their albums are so much better. I don’t know. Anyway, that was history and i hope YB can create a new one, with all the right reasons.

    overall, i love this article because he’s fair and he seems to know what he’s saying.

    1. More importantly, the graph he drew is on-point though it did make me feel comfortable

      *uncomfortable

  14. “Taeyang is not the best, but trying to be the best.”

    ahyeaaa. LOL Getting more info about Jeon Goon was exciting cause now I know a little bit more of the producer :]

  15. I’m JeonGoon’s freind.. His also ma favorite Artist.
    check the song

    ‘girls’ by wheesung feat jeongoon,verbaljint
    produced by D.O

    If you want to know bout more information about K rnb check artist called teawan, and Ra.D

    1. Thank you for stopping by.
      I particularly really love Ra.D too. His latest album Real Collabo. was really good. I deserved the Korean Music Awards! And I will check out Taewan. Thank you!

      1. Ohhh I remember this song….Jeon Goon! Hahah didn’t make this connection right away. I think it’s awesome that Taeyang is working with a wide variety of composers..popular or not…I think it’ll benefit him on the long run as an artist.

        Haha What’s with R&B artists and the word “REAL?” Wheesung is “Real Slow”…Deez’s album was titled “Get Real” Ra.D’s “Collabo” and Taeyang’s album was suppose to be called “Real” too. lol.

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