Soribada and 100beat recently collaborated on a list of the best music from 2000 – 2009 and since October have been doing a daily countdown of the 100 best Korean and International albums during this period. 39 critics took part in the survey (including Kim Bonghyun and Cha Woojin who have written previously about Taeyang’s Solar album.) Taeyang’s debut EP HOT made it on the list at #79, ranked alongside Common’s Like Water for Chocolate among the international albums.
100 Best Albums of the 2000’s
Korean: 79th. Taeyang [HOT] (2008)
It was somewhat unexpected that the first solo entrant of Big Bang is Taeyang. Compared with G-dragon or T.O.P, who openly show their individual impressions and dynamic energy, Taeyang has had a relatively docile image. But the moment [HOT] was released, we could recognize his long patience and step by step preparations. He looked like he had been preparing everything to be an entertainer – not only the album, but also embracing songs that are not easy, perfecting his performance, and developing a muscular visual.
Thanks to that, at the time this album was released, Taeyang came into the spotlight [in a manner] that is close to a syndrome. His star quality has been proven as not Big Bang’s Taeyang but Taeyang himself. For example, Taeyang was practically perfect in the music video of ‘Look Only At Me’, but apart from the visual, the perfection of the album itself was worth it on its own merits. Except for the intro, the five songs were flawless enough for each to be released as a single. It is a 2-year old album, but still sounds polished even now, and it has every element that an Urban R&B record should possess.
Taeyang’s [HOT] is a vivid example that shows the result when a singer’s clear vision and approach to reach his goals merge with his personal talent and appropriate training. Such cases are usually discovered among foreign idol stars. Justin Timberlake was so, and Usher was so too. They have showed great results from not only for their star quality but also on [the quality] of their albums themselves. On the other hand, Korean idols have not been like that. A bunch of them were of half buried [unknown] members and half good-looking poster children, and after the groups have broken up, they would often disappear without ever having done activities. This is because they themselves haven’t been prepared. They might have done hard work in their own ways, but not all hard-workers mean they’re doing well. They can’t reach good results without goals and direction. [HOT] is an album that clearly proves what Taeyang was going for and what preparations he has had to achieve that. In that way, for listeners as well as Taeyang, [HOT] is an album that has showed, that well-prepared idols who have existed just in foreign countries, are possible in Korea, too.