[Album Review] 10 Stories (1st Studio Album) – Kim Sung Kyu (Infinite)

Kim Sung Kyu has been one of my favourite artists in the industry for a long time. That includes his works as part of Infinite and his solo career. 2018 marked the start of a new era for Sung Kyu with the release of his first full-length album, 10 Stories. As this review is quite lengthy, I am going to get straight into it.

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10 Stories Album Cover

1..What Did I Say? (뭐랬어) (ft. Punchnello) – The album opens up with your standard ballad. It unfortunately wasn’t memorable and was the most passable track on the album. His vocals did have an echo-like effect which gave some colour to his vocals. Punchnello’s raps were heavily autotuned but was felt fitting for the song. The instrumental didn’t really have anything spectacular, which contributed to its small impression. (6/10)

2. Stay (머물러줘) – This song reminds me of his past works. I really liked the electronic keyboard in the background, which gave the song a really nice texture. His vocals were at the forefront of the song and I really liked the chorus of the song. Talking about the chorus, it had a great opener and nice rhythm. The saxophone in the bridge was a nice touch and kept the song from becoming too repetitive. In a way, the track is quite relaxing and for that, I like it a lot. (8/10)

3. True Love (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of True Love. (8.4/10)

4. Attraction (끌림) – Despite the other instrumentations, the keyboard stood out quite a bit. The chorus was quite interesting. The defining points in this song aren’t his vocals but rather the instrumental breaks throughout the song. Definitely the song’s unique charm. The slight autotune here was nice and is something that I tend to associate with Kim Sung Kyu’s solo work. There was also a faint whisper in the background for the final chorus that added something a little extra to the song. (8.5/10) 

5. Vanishing Days (지워지는 날들) – When you first hear Sung Kyu sing, you can feel the emotions that he pours into his vocals. These strong vocals are balanced well with the piano instrumental. The second verse adds violins, which you all know I am into. The vocal build-up alongside the instrumental make this song stand out even more. That extra-long pause at the end of the song did catch me off guard but it was such an epic moment because the song returned to how it started initially, just with a guitar instrumental instead. Very fitting for a sad movie. (10/10) 

6. Tall Sunrise (ft. JW of Nell) – The song opens up with Sung Kyu autotuned too much for my liking. However, I did like the “Can You Stay” lines which felt so smooth despite the heavy-handed autotune. I really like the chorus which was upbeat in comparison to the verses, yet still managing to connect well with the verses. The other negative that I wanted to make about this track was the autotune made both Sung Kyu’s and JW’s vocals so similar, it was quite hard to distinguish the different parts. (6/10)

7. SorrySorry combines various synths to create the fine details for this track’s instrumental. That, the consistent hollow thumping and the vocals (which were on point all throughout) made this one of my favourites. My only complaint would be the first chorus felt too short. While not a complaint, the bridge was quite interesting, using only real instruments as opposed to the rest of the track which was synth heavy. Foreign but interesting. (10/10)

8. City of Angels (천사의 도시)City of Angels is another song that reminds me of his past tracks. The instrumental for this track was relaxing and calming, yet I can’t pinpoint what cause this effect on me. The vocals, once again, nice, with some lines being quite melodic (such as the opener), leaving a strong impression. (9/10)

9. Sentimental – When you listen to the song, you get a hint of happiness. The instrumental did a good job conveying this to us. Vocals were also good; however, it was relatively plain when you look at the entire track. On top of that, the song did get a little repetitive due to the consistency of the vocals and instrumental. There was an added effect at the end of the track but it felt too late as an attempt to change up the song. (7/10)

10. Mirror (거울)– The album ends with a ballad. While I tend to think ending albums with ballads tend to be a weak point, this has to be an exception. His vocals are quite unique in this particular track, like no other on this album. I particularly like the push his vocals gave during the chorus. The piano only instrumental was also quite nice. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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10 Stories Teaser Image

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