More ‘oldies’ of K-pop returning to the stage

March 17, 2014

By Park Jin-hai

Last year was a remarkable year for music fans of oldies but goldies.

In April, veteran singer-song writer Cho Yong-pil, 63, released his 19th album “Hello,” his first in a decade. Upon its release the single “Bounce” topped major music download charts, eclipsing Psy’s “Gentleman.”

At the Korea Music Awards this February, “Bounce” was named Song of the Year and “Hello,” Record of the Year, beating out competitors such as idol group EXO.

Prompted by his phenomenal resurgence, more of former stars are planning comebacks this year to a domestic music scene dominated by K-pop. They include Lee Seung-hwan, Seo Tai-ji and g.o.d., a few of whom are working with foreign musicians as did Cho on “Hello.”

Lee Seung-hwan

Lee Seung-hwan, dubbed the “King of Live,” is returning to the local music scene with his 11th album this year.

Lee Seung-hwan, dubbed the “King of Live,” is returning to the local music scene with his 11th
album this year.

Lee Seung-hwan, 48, dubbed the “King of Live,” is one of the first to return to the local music scene. He is known to be putting the finishing touches to his 11th album, “Fall to Fly Part I,” which will be released on March 26. A second, “Fall to Fly Part II,” will be available later this year after mixing and mastering process are complete.

“At a time when digital singles and mini albums became are the norm, making a double is exceptional. It shows how much the singer has confidence in his upcoming albums,” said a music industry watcher.

For the album, Lee has recorded a total of 40 songs and then shortlisted into 20 over the past four years. It will be a blockbuster album that shows Lee’s full musical spectrum, his agency said.

Miles Showell, mastering engineer at the Abby Road Studio, who is working on the albums, said, “Lee can really sell a song, his voice reminds me of George Michael.”

Like Cho, who unveiled a teaser for “Bounce” prior to the song’s formal release, Lee will also adopt a similar marketing gimmick. Lee will hold concerts recalling his 25 years in the music business in the Olympic Park Finance Art Hall in Seoul on March 28 and 29, where he will showcase the new albums, followed by a nationwide tour.

Seo Tai-ji

Seo Tai-ji, who ruled the 1990s as the “President of Culture,” plans to return to the music scene this year.

Seo Tai-ji, who ruled the 1990s as the “President of Culture,” plans to return to the music scene this year.

Music fans are closely waiting for what Seo Tai-ji, dubbed the “President of Culture,” will deliver on an upcoming album due this year.

Since the 2009 album, “Seotaiji 8th Atomos,” the former leader of the now defunct boy band Seo Taiji and Boys, has remained quiet.

Breaking the silence last month, however, he hinted on his website that a comeback was imminent saying, “I have been busy recording. Now I am working on what has been pre-produced in my studio.”

As a person with such iconic status, so much so that people say no one can talk about music of the ‘90s without mentioning him, all of music fans are looking forward to what he will bring forth this time.

Seo recently posted a picture of a radio controlled car, commenting that it was a clue for his upcoming album’s genre ― most likely rock

g.o.d.

The members of g.o.d, who have been on separate career paths since 2005, will reunite to release a new album. (Korea Times file)

The members of g.o.d, who have been on separate career paths since 2005, will reunite to release a new album. (Korea Times file)

Another boy band busy working is g.o.d. (Groove over Dose). The five members didn’t officially disband, but each has been following a separate career path, since their 2005 album.

Main vocalist Kim Tae-woo is known to have finished the guide recording and other members are expected to contribute as soon as their schedules are wrapped up, according to their agency.

Rumors about the 15-year-old band’s comeback started last November and were amplified this February, which the agency denied at those times.

After debuting with the single “To Mother” in 1999, g.o.d. produced various hits including “Love and Memory” and “Lies.” They enjoyed great popularity with people from all age groups, and were known as the “brothers-next-door” band.

Upon the comeback of such groups, popular music critique Hwang Sun-up of webzine IZM, said, “Looking at Cho’s success last year, pop stars of the ‘90s are thinking that when they return they will need to work harder to come up with a quality album.”

“Cho has in effect been calling on pop stars of the past to help diversify the music scene that has been dominated by teen idols.”

However, he warned that their comeback shouldn’t just be about selling nostalgia. “They should not rely on past fandom only. Based on their old music, their albums should show something new,” Hwang added

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