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Kim Jae Hwan’s fifth mini-album is the next album to receive an album review from me. Released back in September, Empty Dream features six new songs including the title track BACK THEN. It is an awesome mini-album, in my opinion. showing off the vocal talent and abilities of the soloist. His vocals come up consistently throughout the review, with his vocal performance in one particular song leaving me speechless. Consider me amazed and a fan of this release!
1. ANSWER ME (대답해줘) – Kicking off the mini-album is a lo-fi R&B track. ANSWER ME really pushes Kim Jae Hwan’s vocals outward and I love this display of vocal work from the soloist, especially when he started off the song with a nasally undertone. It definitely starts off the mini-album in such a promising light. When we get to the chorus of ANSWER ME, Kim Jae Hwan adds a heavy dose of emotional heft to the song, which just makes the song so much more passionate and riveting. It is definitely a nice song to get lost to. (9/10)
2. BACK THEN (그 시절 우리는) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of BACK THEN. (8/10)
3. OUT OF LINE (삐뚤어질까요) – Again, I floored by Kim Jae Hwan’s vocals, especially in this song. He just blows me away. Paired with the rock instrumentation, OUT OF LINE leaves me speechless. I don’t I need to say anything more than that. (10/10)
4. OASIS – OASIS brings forth the reggae, which it is a nice switch up from the more standard pop and rock that we keep on hearing. Kim Jae Hwan still brings the band sound to the song, which creates a really cool blend. I also feel like there is a bit of jazz that comes out during the bridge. Again, outstanding vocals from Kim Jae Hwan and I really liked the melodies in this song, which adds a playful tinge to the song. OASIS would probably make for a great performance piece (with choreography as well!). (9/10)
5. LOVE STRIKE – LOVE STRIKE is an upbeat track. It is definitely a bit of a relief from what we have heard so far, which all have been captivating pieces. LOVE STRIKE isn’t as captivating, but it is set up to be that way. It is more pleasant and fun. I quite like the touch of playfulness that Kim Jae Hwan delivers, especially through the chorus, melodies and hooks. It brings a smile to my face. While the track doesn’t feature wowing vocals from Kim Jae Hwan to the extent that of the other tracks on the album, it is still a strong effort from the soloist. (8.5/10)
6. GOODBYE MORNING – The final song on the album is GOODBYE MORNING and it takes the form of an acoustic ballad. I was expecting this to really build up, but we don’t get there. Instead, the song features is predominately guitar and vocals (with the slight addition of other instrumentation, but in minute amounts). The guitar is very profound, while Kim Jae Hwan’s vocals was quite soft throughout. I really liked how his vocals are on display through this song, bringing a different dynamic to the album. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10