Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kim Sung Kyu: Another Me 1st Mini Album Review

In November 2012, leader Kim Sunggyu was the first member of Infinite to pursue activities outside of the group.  He had always aspired to be a rock singer like he had in high school and like his idol, rock band and labelmate Nell.  I'm so glad Sunggyu was able to release a solo album for him to focus on his love for rock music and away from the pop music of Infinite.
I ordered my Another Me album from and I was so satisfied with the delivery for this package.  It shipped just after 24 hours of ordering it and arrived exactly 7 days later!  Usually my Kpoptown packages arrive after at least 2 weeks, but it's as if they sensed just how excited I was to receive this particular album.
The album comes in an enclosed black plastic bag.  I think the reason there is this additional packaging is because there are 690 limited edition copies that have a different album cover, as well as Sunggyu's autograph inside.  The front of the bag has Sunggyu's album name in gloss black, so it's a bit hard to see.  The back of the bag includes technical information and the seal of authentication.  At the top of the bag is a little slit (as seen in the top right photo) for you to rip open, but I just used scissors since this bag is so precious!
I was disappointed with the handling of my album, however.  While many people complain that their albums delivered from Kpoptown come in horrible condition, I've never had that problem until now.  At the white corner, you can see it has been bent inward.  At the top (in the middle of Sunggyu's hair) you can also see areas where the edge has been dented.
The album cover is a minimalistic close up of Sunggyu in profile view.  He appears more mature and sophisticated with his calm and silent pose.  I'm surprised that the photo even reveals a bit of stubble around his sideburns, showing more manly charm.  The front and back covers have Sunggyu's name and album title written in artistic font.  While this abstract font matches the artistic appeal of the album concept, honestly it's rather hard to read.  
Like Infinite's albums, this album has a high quality photobook on the left and the CD on the right.  Sunggyu's logo is plastered on both of these, further emphasizing the artistic style.
The photobook has 30 pages filled with Sunggyu, lyrics and a 'thanks to' page.  In all of these photos, Sunggyu has the same solemn expression with a white background.  Each photo has such a hipster and artsy feel, especially the photos above.  They focus more on this refined and matured image of Sunggyu, which matches the album's concept perfectly.
Included in every copy are two clear stickers with Sunggyu's logo.  The stickers I received are in multicolored blue/gray and vibrant and solid pink.  There are several variations with other multicolored fonts.  The backside of the stickers is the same image of Sunggyu.  I'm not sure if Woollim is showcasing the sticker or Sunggyu's image, but this sticker idea just makes it look like we're supposed to discard Sunggyu's face.  The center photo illustrates the size of the sticker-like photocards in comparison to the album.
Here is the tracklist printed on the inside of the photobook, along with my thoughts on each track:
  1. 'Another Me' is a very classy introduction track to the album, setting the tone to the genre of music this album covers.  This song is just over a minute long of Sunggyu playing a soothing piano piece with vocals.
  2. '60 Seconds' is the main track for Another Me.  First off, the music video is stunning.  The storyline is so complex and moving.  While I am Myungsoo biased, I still believe this video is amazing in every way; it's almost like a drama crammed into 4 minutes.  The song itself is just as beautiful.  While Infinite's version is highly favorable in general, this song suits Sunggyu so well.  I like the version more, especially the bridge, which was removed for the rapping in the Infinite version.  The lyrics are also deep and complex, and step away from Infinite's lyrics of desperately wanting an ex-girlfriend.
  3. 'I Need You' is another promoted track that is accompanied by a simple, yet sophisticated, music video that focuses on Sunggyu singing passionately.  This song, as well as '41 Days,' was composed by a member of Nell.  The song stays within the same octave throughout and remains very calm, with a relaxing background beat.  The lyrics are very beautiful and meaningful, expressing how Sunggyu is emotionally hurt and needs you to comfort and heal him.
  4. 'Only Tears' is the acoustic version of Infinite's ballad from the Infinitize album.  Sadly this is the one Infinite song that I disregard, but Sunggyu's acoustic version does make this song much more pleasurable.  As an acoustic ballad sung by one person, this song is much more meaningful and deep; I can sense Sunggyu's emotions through his powerful vocals.
  5. 'Shine' is by far my most favorite track and has truly shown me another, more mature side of Sunggyu.  This song was composed for Sunggyu by another member of Nell, which must bare much significance for Sunggyu.  'Shine' is so distinct and has such a unique sound.  I especially love the falsetto in the chorus, which was what led me to buy this album.  I'm always so impressed when guys are able to sing falsetto, and Sunggyu has impressed me tremendously with this one track.
  6. '41 Days' is another calm and soothing song.  The lyrics offer imagery and complex emotions about how one's romantic relationship may seem intertwined but not always.  This song, along with 'I Need You' and 'Shine' sound so mature and have a similar soft rock sound that shown me another side of Sunggyu of which I can't get enough!
  7. There is a hidden track!  I was very pleasantly surprised to have found out.  This is shortened, acoustic version to the title song '60 Seconds' and starts around the one minute mark.  It is a beautiful rendition that really showcases Sunggyu's outstanding and emotional vocals.
Overall, I can't get over how spectacular this album is; each and every song is just as strong.  I've always casually enjoyed listening to Sunggyu's voice as a part of Infinite, but I have never been so awestruck with his singing ability after listening to this album.  Every song fits Sunggyu's vocal strengths very well.  All of the songs on on this CD are very different from Infinite's sound, showing a very mature side to Sunggyu.  Honestly after listening to these songs, I was almost embarrassed to listen to Infinite.  As an inspirit this sounds bad, so let me explain myself: Sunggyu's songs focus solely on his vocals and talent that sound timeless, while Infinite's songs fall into mainstream Kpop with tracks that become just a fad due to being hook songs.  I'm so happy that Sunggyu has been able to pursue his dream with Another Me, and hopefully he'll have another album soon!

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