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New Dad Yoo Still Remains “Toyish”

Posted November. 29, 2007 03:24,   


Yoo Hee-yeol’s project group “Toy” came back with the sixth album, “Thank you.” It is the group’s first album since “Fermata” six and a half years ago.

The six-year hiatus reflects a degree of suffering in his life. He gained a huge success with his fourth album, “Night in Seoul”, which is known as a musical masterpiece, and his fifth album that included hits such as ‘A Nice Person’; ‘If I Were Her Boyfriend’; and ‘Used to Be Poor But Happy.’ As expectations for the next album grew, he must have felt the burden of success. Indeed, he said he went back to the drawing board several times just before recording his most recent album. Last year, he said in an interview that he was worried about what to do and what kind of music he had to come up with when questioned about his long hiatus.

In conclusion, his sixth album is still “toyish” in substance. Toy’s distinctive sound has not changed in it, featuring small piano pieces between songs, easy and touching lyrics, and a sensitivity that can touch an adolescent girl’s mind.

Kim Hyeong-jung and Kim Yeon-woo, Toy’s main vocalists, sing typical Toy-style songs. Kim Hyeong-jung’s ‘A Christmas Card’ reminds us of “A Nice Person” in the previous album, and Kim Yeon-woo’s “Greetings”, whose motif came from lines of a Korean drama, “The Dating Era”, remains the same. The untrimmed and low voice of Yoo can be heard in “Happy End” and “Frangipani.”

The album will not disappoint Toy’s loyal fans.

With careful listening, you will also find some different approaches. Yoo put together an exceptional song called “Hot Byebye” as the title song. This typical 1980’s new wave sound piece is totally different from his previous title songs; “You Have Once Lived With Me”; “You’re Still Beautiful”; and “A Nice Person.” The introduction is filled with strong beats and electronic sounds, and is impressive. Lee Ji-hyeong, who was active in the Indie music scene, played a vocal role as well.

Yoo’s excellent ability to place various vocals into the right pieces has made the latest album worth listening to. Old band members, including Cho Won-seon, Kim Hyeong-jung, Seong Shi-gyeong, Kim Yeon-woo, and Yun Sang, and new members like Lee Gyu-ho, Yoon Ha, Cho Yun-seok of “Lucid Paul,” and Kim Min-gyu of “Deli Spice” all collaborated on this project.

Above all, fans must be curious about his personal life. Last year, he became a father of a girl after he got married to an interpreter who is two years younger than he is in 2005. The newest album features a track, “Frangipani,” named after a flower that he found in Bali when he dated his wife, and lyrics like “Makes me smile, your half-awake eyes, stretched hair, I am happy with you in my crumpled shirt” (Happy End), and “On one spring morning, with thumb-size shoes, a mother’s face was brighter than any one else” (A song to my daughter) are indicative of his personal life journey.

Bae Sun-tak, a music critic, said, “Toy’s musical achievement depends on how it combines electronic, techno, bossa-nova, and jazz into its own style. The sixth album is a well-made album that encompasses different genres.”