Eyelike: Park Si-hwan debuts with ‘Spring Awakening’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 18, 2014 - 20:52
  • Updated : Apr 18, 2014 - 20:52
Park Si-hwan debuts with ‘Spring Awakening’

Park Si-hwan
“Spring Awakening”
(CJ E&M)

Park Si-hwan, the runner-up on the television audition program “Superstar K5,” has entered the local professional music scene with his first solo EP “Spring Awakening.”

During the program, Park, a mechanic at the time, impressed judges and listeners with his soulful voice, earning the moniker “bolt guy” for gripping a 13 mm bolt throughout his first audition.

The EP title signals the fulfillment of his long-cherished dream of becoming a singer as he embarks on a new career as a professional musician, according to CJ E&M.

The EP is filled with many pleasant ballad tracks. The lead single, “Only You,” is notable, given that the chorus includes the signature line of “Though I Loved You” by the late veteran singer Kim Gwang-suk. Park is the first singer to have gained permission to cover the famous song from Han Dong-jun, the writer and composer and a close friend of the late Kim.

“Only You” kicks off with an acoustic guitar line alongside Park’s powerful vocals. Though it features an upbeat pop-rock melody, the song wistfully reminisces about a past lover. The budding singer reveals his unique colors during the chorus, in which he delivers a modern interpretation of “Though I Loved You.”

“There’s Nothing I Can Do” is a slower contemporary ballad featuring calm piano, string and guitar sounds. Park yearningly sings about a man’s grief after his first breakup.

“Rolled Over” uses minimal instrumental accompaniment for Park’s poignant vocals. “A world without you is painful. / It hurts so much that even the wind breaks me,” he sings during the ballad’s moving chorus. “The Way You Are,” the soundtrack to the tvN drama “Emergency Couple,” is a familiar track that’s also included on the EP.

All in all, Park’s new musical career seems to be off to a good start. 


Wilko Johnson, Roger Daltrey rock on

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey
“Going Back Home”

Wilko Johnson, former guitarist of rabble-rousing 1970s British rockers Dr. Feelgood, is enjoying a bittersweet late-career surge.

Johnson’s jagged playing and menacing stare helped give Dr. Feelgood’s bluesy rock an infectious, raucous energy. The band was briefly a sensation and foreshadowed punk’s anarchic spirit.

Then the group imploded and Johnson spent years as a cult hero, cherished by a tight coterie of fans.

Last year Johnson was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer; vowing to rock until the end, he set out on a farewell tour.

And finally the world is taking notice. There have been sold-out shows, a slot at this summer’s Glastonbury Festival and now an album with Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who.

Inspired by a shared love of early British rockers like Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, “Going Back Home” is deliberately rough-edged and retro -- even the label, Chess Records, is a heritage brand resurrected for the release.

Recorded in a week with producer Dave Eringa and Johnson’s touring band, its 11 tracks include 10 Johnson compositions, from the Feelgood days through his solo career.

The title track sets the tone of robust, rocking R&B. Daltrey growls lustily over Johnson’s choppy riffs and it’s spiced with lashings of dirty harmonica from Steve Weston and galumphing piano from ex-Style Council keyboardist Mick Talbot.

Songs like “Keep it Out of Sight” and “All Through the City” have a swaggering energy and raw yearning. “Some Kind of Hero” is a meaty slice of the blues on the evergreen topic of a cheatin’ woman, but the lyrical bravado is laced with British self-deprecation: “I wish I was some kind of hero.”

The album’s rough-hewn quality is less of an asset on a ballad like “Turned 21” or a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window.”

“Going Back Home” is not going to win awards for innovation, but it’s feisty fun and a rousing testament to a distinctive figure in British rock history. (AP)

Price caps career with stirring last album

Ray Price
“Beauty Is”

The late Ray Price titled his final studio recording “Beauty Is” after an opening duet with Vince Gill that draws on the axiom about the eye of the beholder. Music is similarly subjective, but it would be hard to imagine anyone not recognizing the sublime beauty of the late Ray Price’s singing: He owned one of the richest voices and most emotionally expressive styles in country music history.

Price died in December, and when he entered the studio earlier in 2013 with producer Fred Foster, he realized “Beauty Is” quite likely would be his last. At age 87, he had spent a couple of years battling cancer and other ailments. Live, and on record, Price’s voice had remained a remarkable instrument, yet there are moments on “Beauty Is” where age, for the first time, appears to limit his breath and range.

But Foster arranges these love songs to capitalize on the tonal quality of Price’s voice. Set to string orchestrations accented by country instrumentation, Price sounds like a wise sage with a big heart and a gentle soul on touching songs such as Willie Nelson’s “It Always Will Be,” a romantic duet with Martina McBride on the standard “An Affair To Remember” and a second duet with Gill on the lovely “Until Then.”

Graceful to the end, Price takes a final bow with an elegant collection that nicely caps a great musical legacy. (AP)