Friday, May 27, 2016

Nam Woohyun: Write.. 1st Mini Album Review

Nothing can express just how proud and happy I am for Woohyun to finally get his time to shine outside of Infinite as a whole. On May 9th, 2016, Woollim released Woohyun's debut album, Write..
I pre-ordered this album from Kpoptown. For my past few orders, I had been religiously ordering from Ktown4u because they offer free folded posters; however, this time I found that Kpoptown was cheaper to order with a folded poster. My total purchase was just under $20, including the lowest shipping option. It was shipped just a few hours after its release and arrived in 13 days (including weekends).
The album came packaged in two or so layers of bubblewrap. The folded poster (which was folded smaller than I had imagined), came in a clear sealed bag.

Similar to Sunggyu's first solo album, the first press batch of Woohyun's album contains 999 limited edition copies. The limited edition includes a black background with a different cover, an autographed card indicating the number out of 999, and an extra hidden track of Woohyun's voice message. As expected, mine is the regular edition.

Like everyone is saying online, Woohyun's album is practically impossible to open without damaging it. I try to keep all of my Infinite goods in the most pristine condition, and Woollim's really making it difficult with this one. I decided to just make a separate post on how to open the album here.
The album has the same dimensions as Infinite's usual albums. This one comes with an exterior case. The front cover is simplistic with Woohyun's logo and album info. (I took this photo after I had opened the album).
The backside also has Woohyun's logo as well as the tracklist.
The contents slip out from the left side. I didn't know that the contents have a fingerprint-loving metallic cover, so I sadly added some oil marks to the front and back covers. I recommend using gloves.
Here is how the inside album looks. You can see how reflective the inside contents are; that blue rectangle reflection is actually Woohyun's photo from Infinite's 2015 Season's Greetings^^
The backside of this white casing also reveals the tracklist. There are six listed tracks, including an introductory track and five beautiful ballads. I'm so happy that Woohyun can finally officially share his own music with the world, as he participated in most of these tracks. There is also a hidden track, the studio version of "Everyday," which Woohyun performed for his solo stage during Infinite Effect! This is actually the 26th track, as Woohyun said it represents his age, and tracks 7 through 25 are blanks, with all of them 5 seconds long and the 25th one 7 seconds long. I wonder what the significance of this is...?
The contents slip out from the top or the bottom of the white casing.
From top to bottom (left to right in the picture), the contents are a photobook, the CD casing, and another photobook.
The front and back covers of the photobooks are reflective; this is where I suggest you use gloves! The black casing is also prone to oily fingerprints. Here are the back covers of all three items. There are small imprints on the black casing.
Each album comes with one photocard out of five types. Mine was tucked in the first page of the first photobook. The photocard is about the same size as Infinite's Reality ones.
Woohyun's poses are all so cute, I'm equally happy to get any one.
The backsides are also all really adorable, with Woohyun writing questions, like my photocard says "나 멋져? (I'm cool, right?)" and expecting us to nod in agreement.
There are two photobooks in this album, with the close-up of Woohyun labeled "Episode 1" and the other one labeled "Episode 2." Both photobooks contain 32 pages each of color and black-and-white photos.
Both photobooks contain different photoshoots, but the overall theme is very consistent. The photos are all very minimalist and mature, matching the songs' essence. I like how some photos of the scenery were included as well. The top photo is from the first photobook while the bottom is from the second.
"Episode 1" also contains the tracklist and lyrics. Above is the lyrics page for "Stand by me."
"Episode 2" has "the Thanks To" and credits pages. It's nice how some pages of "Episode 2" also have page numbers (though not in this page).
The black CD casing is very simplistic.
The inside of the CD casing has a message (of which I cannot understand) and Woohyun's solo debut date printed on the left and a plastic tray on the right to hold the CD.
There are two types of posters, which were only for first press. I was surprised that Kpoptown folded the poster so small; I thought they would have it with one fewer fold, like Ktown4u does. Maybe that's why overall it was cheaper to order from Kpoptown than from Ktown4u. Both posters are black and white close-ups, and they look so simplistic, mature, and natural, very fitting for the album.

Overall, this album is so special as Woohyun can finally share his talent as a true singer. I hope he'll continue to gain much support as a solo singer and can continue with more solo releases in the near future.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Infinite: 24 Hours Single (All Member's Versions) Review

Woollim released nine versions of Infinite's Japanese single, 24 Hours, in April 2015. Being the crazy Inspirit that I am, I got all nine versions (though I really can't justify getting nine versions of one album). I wrote more about this single in my review of the first press normal version here and in this post, I'll be showing all seven member versions of the single. But because all of them practically look the same, I'll do a general unboxing of only one member's.

My family got these for me from a Kpop shop in Hong Kong's Sino Centre. They were all priced at $75HKD, except for L's which was $130HKD and Sungyeol's at $110HKD. Sadly the Sungjong one was broken such that the clips holding the CD in place broke off, yet it was still at regular price -.- Woohyun's case is also cracked...
Here are all seven member versions. You can see that it is a clear case to display the picture label of each CD. The clear wrap is still on the albums here, but once you remove it, the white slip on the left comes off (it's not attached to the case). These images are different from that of the normal version, however they're very similar to the back cover of that version.
The backside has the same image for each member version.
From here on, I'll mostly focus on L's version. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of packaging for the member version. It's simply a jewel case (but the super thin kind) without any booklet, and the member's image on the picture label.
Here is a closeup of the back cover. The top left sticker is on the outside of the clear wrap and has information about the promotional event I believe. The black box on the bottom right indicates which member this version is.
The paper spine (that thing on the bottom with all the wording) is in between the jewel case and the clear plastic wrap, so sadly I can't properly keep it with the album.
Pictured are Sungjong's (top) and L's. The black corner is meant to be ripped to enter into the lottery event. Sungjong's has a "9" printed on it while "L's has an "8," so you have to get one of each member in order to enter the event. Of course the event ended a year ago...
Opening the jewel case, the CD is held together on the on the left. I really don't like this design, because it's easy for the CD to fall out (you swing the side that the CD is attached to to open the case) and because it's easy to get the underside of the CD dirty.
Here is the mini photo pamphlet. Attached at the end is the spine of the album.
Inside is a loose leaf sheet explaining the event.
The underside of the pamphlet as the Japanese lyrics for "24 Hours" and "Just Another Lonely Night."

Instead of having the three Japanese tracks "24 Hours," "Just Another Lonely Night," and "Together" like in the normal and limited versions, these member versions have the respective member's audio message in Japanese as the third track, replacing "Together." Each member's message track is somewhere over a minute long.

Overall...I honestly don't think these member versions are worth it. Hopefully this guilt will help me steer clear from buying any future Japanese member versions.
Update: I originally opened four CDs with difficulty as the plastic wrap was really tight around the album. But it wasn't until I reached Woohyun (I opened it from youngest to oldest), that I realized that there is a little plastic tail hanging out at the top left side of the album.
You can just keep pulling it (like a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum), then the entire wrapper easily comes off.

Monday, May 23, 2016

[HOW TO OPEN] Nam Woohyun: Write.. 1st Mini Album

Here I'll just be presenting how I opened Woohyun's album Write.. My full unboxing/review of this album is here. Woollim tends to have simple packaging, but they really went on the creative side with this one. On the left side of the album, the edges are perforated.
The top left corner has a black triangle and a slit in between.
I used my thumbnail to slip inside the slit and lift upward until it was like the picture above. It was convenient for me to open this album because I'm left handed, but hopefully it's naturally instinctual for right handed people too.
Then I used a sharp box cutter and really slowly, ran it against the perforation bit by bit. I only cut the long edge connected to the backside of the album, as pictured above. It's really easy to lose your grip and scrap the exterior of the box, or worse, cut so deeply that it runs through the inside album spine. Even with my patience, I did scratch both parts a few times -.-
After running the box cutter through the long end, then I ran the box cutter across the bottom edge as well. Note that there is more cardboard space (like they didn't make perforation marks throughout the entire bottom edge), so you may need to freely cut the edge a bit. After cutting just these two edges, I carefully unfolded the flap. You can see the uneven edge after I cut it in the top photo, and you can kind of see the scratches I put into the spine in the bottom photo (center of spine).

I hope this quick tutorial of how to open Woohyun's debut album helps those who haven't opened their albums yet!