Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Replay: Solid - To Be Unlimited

Replay revisits music in my collection.


Solid is a Korean pop R&B/hip-hop group that is actually before my awareness of Korean pop as a whole. However, I do remember that it was one of those groups that my sister would listen to and so in the summer of 1999, after the group had ended its run, I saw this compilation and thought I'd get it. The group is really an early stage hybrid of Korean pop with R&B and hip-hop tendencies, both of the latter leaning very heavily in the pop sound. However, while it might not be the most original group (the sound is very clearly influenced by American pop, R&B, hip-hop and soft rock, dating from the 1980's and early 1990's) and isn't the first group to tackle these styles, they still largely wrote their own music and made their own brand.

Since I'm still not familiar with the band's music beyond what's presented in this double disc compilation, I can't entirely comment on how well it actually compiles the group's musical career. The album divides the music into a disc of ballads and then a second disc that comprises dance and hip-hop songs. While this is a logical thematic division, it can render each disc a difficult listen because the variation on each is limited by its style, which might lead to some degree of staleness in the overall listen. On the other other, if all you want are Solid ballads, over and over again to heal your broken heart, then perhaps this approach works better.

I don't know that I could say that Solid necessarily grew in the course of their career as the music sounds largely the same on each disc. The songs are largely decent, even if unspectacular and perhaps cherry picking the best tracks from each album helps improve the listen by limiting the amount of filler that shows up here, if the albums contained filler. I can't say I recommend To Be Unlimited to non-fans as I don't know that there's anything here that you can't find elsewhere with more personal context, but having listened to this compilation, I have to say that Solid's music grew on me, even if not by much. But I'd still say that this double disc retrospective is best left for fans and might be too much for just the curious. 8/10.

Tracklist:

Disc 1: Ballade

  1. 이 밤의 끝을 잡고
  2. 이제 그만 화 풀어요
  3. 넌 나의 처음이자 마지막이야
  4. 사랑
  5. 끝이 아니기를
  6. 아끼지 못했던 사랑
  7. 날 사랑할 때까지
  8. Yes or No
  9. 널 위해서라면
  10. Dream
  11. 사랑을 보여 줄 수만 있다면
  12. Someday
  13. Amazing Grace (live)
  14. You Are So Beautiful to Me (live)
  15. 넌 나의 처음이자 마지막이야 (live)

Disc 2: Hip Hop, Dance

  1. 천생연분
  2. 나만의 친구
  3. Happy Ending
  4. 끼리끼리
  5. 슬럼프
  6. 넌 누구니
  7. Why
  8. 잠든 널 포켓 속에
  9. 어둠이 걷히면
  10. If You Want My Lovin'
  11. Pass Me the Mic
  12. Hip Hop Nation
  13. Happy Ending (live)
  14. 나만의 친구 (live)
  15. 천생연분 (live)>

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