At the start of February this year, Wonpil made his solo debut with Pilmography, two months prior to his military enlistment. This release comes in the form of a studio album (which is a rare form of a debut, though it has been done before), which is lead by the single Voiceless. In addition to Voiceless, there are nine other addition tracks on the album – some of which have been performed live by Wonpil in some form following the album’s release. Today, I will finally be reviewing the album (almost five months after its release).
Going into the album, I thought we would be getting ballad after ballad for some reason. I guess Wonpil looks like a ballad type of guy. But I was genuinely surprised that ballads only make up a small portion of the album. Instead, we got different song styles coming through. It is all in the realm of music that can be performed by a band, but it isn’t all rock (as one might think when it comes to band music) or ballads. I highly recommend you check out this album, as some of the songs are stunning. Others are surprising or just plain old pleasant. But all are very good songs.
1. Voiceless (안녕, 잘 가) – Click here for the full review of Voiceless. (9/10)
2. Sincerity (지우게) – At first, I thought Sincerity was a straight forward ballad with striking piano, which I totally enjoyed. But as the song continues, it unexpectedly changes momentum via the insertion of synths during the choruses. It isn’t a complete shakeup though, as the beat is maintained and the song reverts between the two as its progresses along. I also found it to be quite cohesive, as a result. I enjoyed the way Wonpil’s vocals climbed to match the intensity that the synths bring and how he brought an airiness of the verses to give it some colour. (9/10)
3. A Writer in a Love Story (소설 속의 작가가 되어) – You can tell that A Writer in a Love Story is a lot more cheerful compared to some of the other song, thanks to its upbeat and jazzy tone. I feel that this brought a warm feel to the album as a result. And since it is cold where I am, I was really feeling it. I also like how Wonpil’s vocals compliments different genres, with his vocals sounding splendid in this enjoyable and pleasant song. (8/10)
4. Walk With Me (우리 더 걸을까) – The acoustic nature of Walk With Me feels very fitting for the Springtime in which the album was released in. It felt like a song that easily could have risen in the charts had it been standalone and well promoted, just like how some other Spring songs tend to rise out of nowhere during the Spring season on the Korean charts. Wonpil sounds sweet and warm touch to the song, complimenting the lyrics and overall feel of the song, which highlights the loving nature of the song. (8/10)
5. Stranded (외딴섬의 외톨이) – One of my picks for best song on Pilmography is Stranded, simply because I don’t mind having this song on repeat. It brings back synths, bringing forth a jazzy city pop vibe, and an upbeat tempo. Both are appealing aspects on a vocal centric album like this. I find Wonpil’s voice to be the best in Stranded, as he pulled out a few different techniques to make the song more interesting on his part. I particularly enjoyed his interaction with the backing vocals in the pre-chorus for this song. (10/10)
6. Someday, Spring Will Come (언젠가 봄은 찾아올 거야) – If you are looking for a softer and an ‘easy on the ear’ song, Someday, Spring Will Come is the song for you. It is, however, a more bittersweet song, reminding us that there is always good news down the track or ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ (for this song, the good news or light is likened to be Spring). The instrumental is interesting, bringing in horns and flutes into the mix. Not unheard of, but it a bit different set of instruments commonly heard. I enjoyed the percussion in this song, which made the song extremely pleasant. Wonpil’s vocals are good, but they felt a bit flat in this song. (7/10)
7. Pieces (휴지조각) – Another favourite of mine from this album. Pieces takes on a pop profile and explores Wonpil’s lower registers, both of which hasn’t really been touched upon on this album in great detail yet. I really like the pulsing melody in the verses and throughout instrumental. It creates an intriguing and different dynamic that is quite cool. I also enjoyed the building momentum towards the lyric-less chorus. It’s a bit abstract, but that makes the track unique and individualistic, which I am always for. (10/10)
8. Last Goodbye (늦은 끝) – We re-enter ballad territory with Last Goodbye, with features a piano only instrumental that is quite beautiful. It actually didn’t occur to me at first (only as I was typing this review) that the instrumental was just piano, as the piano compensated for what usual is present (i.e. some form of percussion, strings etc.). With such an instrumental, the focus is squarely on Wonpil. And as indicated throughout this album, he shows off his vocals in a manner that is extremely pure and untouched. (9/10)
9. Unpainted Canvas (그리다 보면) – Unpainted Canvas is an uplifting pop rock song that is so captivating to listen to. While I try hard not to think of DAY6 whilst writing this album review since this is Wonpil’s own work, I felt that Unpainted Canvas is the most DAY6-like track thanks to the rock band feel that the instrumental brings. I also enjoyed the lyrics, conveying one’s journey from young to present via the idea of painting or drawing a future. I also liked Wonpil’s vocals throughout this track, as well. (8.5/10)
10. A Journey (행운을 빌어 줘) – Final song on this stunning album is A Journey. Wonpil saves one of the best to the very end. It closes out with the message that he will be back as a better person and to wish him luck for what is to come next in his journey. It is also the most surprising track on the album thanks to its synth/band instrumental that drives the song forward. The chorus is just so vibrant and cheerful, and I like how Wonpil matches this energy with his vocals. (10/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10