[Album Review] Pilmography (1st Studio Album) – WONPIL (DAY6)

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.

Pilmography Album Cover

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

Pilmography Teaser Image

[Review] Voiceless – WONPIL (DAY6)

Over the last year or so, we have gotten solo releases from each of the DAY6 members (aside from Sungjin, who was the first member to enlist into the military and prompted the band to focus on solo promotions for the time being). Jae has collaborated with other artists (but more recently left JYP Entertainment and is currently on a break from DAY6). Young.K made his solo debut with Guard You, and Dowoon also debuted with a collaborative single, Out of the Blue, with Song Heejin, before both enlisted into the military. This leaves Wonpil as the remaining member of DAY6. He has also flagged his intention to enlisting to minimise DAY6’s hiatus. But before that, he made his solo debut (like his fellow members) today with his first solo single, Voiceless, and studio length album, Pilmography.

Voiceless comes in the form of a stunning ballad. It is an interesting ballad, as it is not your typical emotional ballad style that is heavy on the emotions within its music or dramatically orchestrated as we have come across before. Instead, the instrumental behind Voiceless was striking, prance-like, folksy-like and upbeat in an unusual manner but a fitting way. This can be attributed to the waltz element that Soompi has pointed out to be in the song, alongside some bluesy elements. It makes Voiceless dynamic for me and kept me captivated. The instrumental also ticks that swaying motion that I find myself doing while listening to really great ballads. Even though Voiceless has such an instrumental, this does not shortchange the emotion impact of the song, as Wonpil sings about a ‘heartbreaking story of ending a relationship in order to lessen pain for the other person’ (taken from Soompi). And you can tell that Wonpil pours his emotions into the song as he sings. Talking about vocals, I really enjoyed how pronounced his vocals got, building as the ballad progressed. It helps make Voiceless more striking (as already mentioned) and it is hard to tear your attention away from the song. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of his softer moments, mainly because he went with a nasally effect which I wasn’t a personal fan of. I feel that the nasally approach this time around made the lyrics sound a little unclear. But apart from that, Voiceless is a fantastic ballad and title track that definitely makes me want to dive into the rest of the album.

My understanding of the music video is that Wonpil is in love with this mermaid. So in love that he writes a story about her. At the start of the video, he see him read the story he wrote about the mermaid. But over time, we see him pick up another story and another story, suggesting that he is tired of the mermaid story (and hence mermaid). As he does this, the water in the apartment rises. Once the apartment is completely filled with water, the mermaid appears in front of him to deliver the breakup news. The water drains and we can see the events preceding upsets him. We see him slip further into sadness (i.e. the water), whilst reminiscing of the days when they would swim together (I believe this is all in his mind however). We are then treated to a mini reunion on the beach, where she joins him above water (much to his surprise) and they have a nice stroll along the beach before he confess his love. But she lets go, and leaves his life, as the lyrics states. We get a emphasis on the fact that she leaves his life when she turns to sand, whilst Wonpil in on that small golden island. At the end, however, we see Wonpil sitting along the beach in a completely different outfit (something that makes him look more mature and possibly suggests a time jump). From afar the mermaid looks at him, knowing that while the breakup did hurt him, he emerged as a better person from it. A very aesthetic, well executed music video and heartbreaking story.

Song – 9/10
Music Video -10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10