AKMU "WINTER" (2017)
An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.
As seasons go, “WINTER” has come, coincidentally during the winter of 2021, no less. The final part to the two-part series Puberty, from sibling duo AKMU, right after the drop.
You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Hey y’all, before we start with the details of today’s album, I’m excited to announce A3Day’s first giveaway! The Staff tiered patrons from my Patreon are spearheading a K-pop merchandise giveaway for listeners within the contingent 48 states that begins tonight, Friday, January 29, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. CT when the second episode of A3Day Sister Show releases. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter at “multifacetedacg” to see the details, terms, and conditions. Good luck in advance!
Today’s album, “Winter,” was released January 3, 2017, and is AKMU’s second studio album. With a listening time of 30 minutes, the duo takes you down a path of reflection with passionate, live instrumentation. Lee Su-hyun vocally performed her butt off on this album, traversing her soprano range up and down the music. This album was most relatable for me, in terms of its context and made the listening experience very personal.
For those who don’t speak the Korean language, looking at the English titles of each song won’t really convey much. Whether they knew this or not, that plays into the wonder of winter, especially in places that experience snow. You don’t know what you’re waking up to from day to day -- it could be unseasonably warm or a genuine blizzard, regardless of what the weather forecast predicted. Titles such as “Play Ugly,” “CHOCOLADY,” and “Reality,” don’t necessarily tell you what you’re about to experience.
Speaking of an experience, if you have a moment, search for a live performance of “Reality” on YouTube and try to resist smiling. While the music is playful, the realities of the lyrics -- struggling to afford a taxi, low bank account balances, and awkward moments in coupledom -- are in juxtaposition. The reality of these universal experiences for so many people warmed my heart. I’m at an age at the time of this recording where I can look back at how difficult some of these things were for me and feel the bittersweet reaction from knowledge. Someone younger or less experienced than me might find a balm to calm the anxiety as they listen to this song.
The album elevated their folk-pop sound, and tap dances its way into jazz-pop, a subgenre I’m a huge fan of. On the reflective track, “Way Back Home,” a piano and shaker come together to accent AKMU’s rapping and singing over a mellow hip-hop beat pattern, but it’s actually jazz. It’s a great display of how music was never meant to be straight and narrow, but to cut lanes and spill into other areas. Music itself is as complex as the winter season. It’s also as simple as the still of winter nights.
K-pop fans on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day rating for this album is a 5. This album reflects maturity both within the Puberty concept and in its composition. Lee Chan-hyuk wrote and produced beautiful pieces with the assistance of a wonderful team. Continue to check out the #A3Day Highlights Playlist on Spotify, as it features tracks from today’s albums and past episode’s artists, and I’ll catch you in the next episode, bye y’all.
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