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[Editor’s Pick] Soulful ballads to welcome fall

Autumn is just around the corner – it’s finally the season of ballad! Looking through the Korea digital music sites, the top two songs are currently without exception Roy Kim’s “The Hardest Part” and Lim Chang Jung’s “There Has Never Been A Day I Haven’t Loved You.” All-round artist Lim Chang Jung’s sensational 2016 song “The Love I Committed” hit 200,000 likes on Melon, Korea’s biggest music streaming site. This fall, he returns with some new hit-songs-to-be and remakes of his two classics!

Following his megahits “The Love I Committed” and “Love Again,” Lim Chang Jung partners up with producer Wild Pig again for the title track “There Has Never Been A Day I Haven’t Loved You” (Track 3). Unlike his usual style, this song is his first attempt in the R&B pop ballad genre. To be honest, I can think of other better songs in the album for a title track but I respect his choice. Experienced music artists usually love to stick with their own signature styles. It could be a bit risky for Lim Chang Jung, but naming this the title track means that it must be a song he personally wants to recommend. I appreciate his effort and willingness to try and experiment new genres.

“Karaoke” (Track 1) has to be my favorite from this album. It illustrates a scenario where a man goes to karaoke with his friends. While singing that particular song he listened to after breakup, he becomes moody and teary and realizes that he misses his love a lot. The next track “Please Don’t Share” (Track 2) empathizes with people who have gone through bidding farewell to a lover. The singer’s sliding pitches are absolutely a highlight of the song. Known for his superb and powerful vocal, he sings so well in this kind of “Lim Chang Jung-style” melancholic music. These two songs are placed at the start of the tracklist which put me in high anticipation for the rest of the album.

Along with “Karaoke” and “Please Don’t Share,” “10 Years as Friends, 1 Year in Love (Track 8)” is also the kind of title track I expected from a Lim Chang Jung album. The song is produced by the singer, producer Wild Pig and Lee Dong Won, the composer of the well-known “A Glass of Soju.” Lim Chang Jung is for sure a smart and talented musician as he always finds the right people to collaborate with. The theme and lyrics of the song are quite cute as well, expressing the difference between the friendship and romance of friends-turned-lovers.

“Love Again” is undeniably the song that shone a light on Lim Chang Jung’s vocal talent and music quality to the public again. The 2015 song brought him two awards at year-end music ceremonies and his first win on Korean music programs in 12 years. If you say “Love Again” is a song that is sung mournfully right after breakup, the 2018 version of the song would be a person weeping while recalling the memories after a period of time has passed. Though sharing the same lyrics and melody, “Love Again (2018 Version)” (Track 10) has a radically different ambience than the original release. I love this version as well, but it would have been better if he didn’t hit the high notes in such a strong tone so that the woeful and regretful feelings can be emphasized more.

The difference between the original and new versions of “A Guy Like Me” is mainly the background music. The original version’s melody is in acoustic piano while “A Guy Like Me (2018 Version)” (Track 11) has a richer instrumental. Lim Chang Jung also manages to sing in a more plaintive way in the new version, which blends well with the background tune.

Lim Chang Jung serves as the main composer, writer and producer for the track “Her” (Track 6). With its sweet lyrics and melody, this R&B ballad would certainly be a nice song to sing at a wedding ceremony.

As always, Lim Chang Jung has proven himself a gifted singer and lyricist with his well-written ballad pieces. After listening to the new versions of his classic hits, I can’t wait for a remake album from him!

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