SAM KIM – 'SUN AND MOON'
1. Sun And Moon
2. It's You (Feat. ZICO)
3. Make Up (Feat. Crush)
4. Sunny Days, Summer Nights
5. The One
6. Would You Believe
7. The Weight
Sam Kim has just unveiled the second part of his 'Sun and Moon' album, and all eight tracks are available for release. The album was released in two parts, Part 1 in October and Part 2 just this week.
"Sun And Moon" sounds like country and western. He's got the acoustic slide guitar, and modern country music has a lot more in common with pop than it used to. The only thing he's missing is the accent, but since he's singing in Korean, that might be hard. Since country music is not my thing, I'd have to say skip this one. But if you leave for the music, you might want to stay around for the vocals. "It's You" features ZICO as the rapper, and he does a fairly decent job all things considered. The track is the title track, an R&B offering that hearkens back a little further, owing a debt to more specific forms like jazz. He does a fine job here, and the sound is not dissimilar to other jazz-pop offerings like Steely Dan (only the vocals are massively different).
"Make Up" has Crush, and it's another softer song. It's got some of the same jazz sounds that the previous track did, with more Stevie Wonder-style R&B. The really interesting thing about this song is that his voice is more strained and rough. It actually gives the song a feeling of more honesty if he doesn't have perfect pitch. There's a folk vibe in "Sunny Days, Summer Nights," and here's where he returns to his nice, tender tenor. Sometimes he sounds raw on this one, too, which just lends it that much more authenticity. I think his voice has changed, and I think it's for the better.
He flirts with more modern R&B in "The One." This is more upbeat than he's been, giving it kind of a playful feel. And I love the bass here. It just underscores that high voice and drives the song extremely well along with the horn section. Slow jazz permeates "Would You Believe." This has a seriously retro feel. It's very '70s in a lot of ways, there are even gospel inspired backup singers that he worked in here. If he was going for retro, he certainly succeeded in a big way.
"The Weight" is a ballad, with all the baggage it brings with it. It's slow and reflective, and his voice is very tender here. This is where some of the roughness in his voice works fantastically, pushing emotion to the limit even as the orchestra threatens to keep him even. The folk sound returns on "If." It's a very full-sounding acoustic guitar along with a slightly jaunty tempo. I like how he's not entirely a slave to the metronome. His voice sounds freer in this format, able to do some nice time changes here and there. I especially like the last part of the tune.
One thing I can say is this album is vastly different than any other release by Sam Kim. I have kind of a grudging respect for the young man -- he is not afraid to experiment. After a largely bland pop debut, followed by a more techno-inspired sophomore outing, he's followed both of those up with a mature, contemplative album, with retro R&B elements, folk, and even country! Frankly, I think this is his best release yet, and I look forward to seeing what else he can do.
The MV for "It's You" straddles the line between good and meh.
On one hand, the sets are cheap, with inexpensive tropes ripped straight from other MVs. Feathers falling, multi-hued shadows of the singer, vague objects scattered around the sitting singer with no rhyme or reason, and shots through a curtain are just a few things they chose to shoot.
On the other hand, all these tropes are mashed up, and they never dwell on any one scene too long. And at least they didn't take the easy way out, taking care to make each shot count. They get points for trying, anyway.
And shots of Sam Kim don't really count. That's just par for the course. I understand that the attraction is part of the draw for K-pop artists, but it's half the battle won if they just show up.
Where the MV does pick up is Zico. That guy has a good stage presence, so seeing him interact with straight man Sam Kim was kind of the highlight of the MV. I like his part in the song, so I was hoping we'd get to see him as well. I wasn't disappointed.
So where does this stand? Well, there are some parts I liked, and I didn't actively dislike any part of the MV. My scores will reflect that.
MV SCORE: 8.0
ALBUM SCORE: 9.0