[ENTERTAINMENT]A Ulysses of Rock Makes His Own OdysseyThe rock singer Kim Jong-seo has strong opinions about the record-buying public: "The tendency for an album to be judged with its one or two hit songs is unfortunate. For musicians who endeavor to make the whole album perfect, this approach really hurts."
Since making his debut nearly a decade ago, Kim has maintained his convictions. This week he is releasing his eighth album, titled "Odyssey." As usual, he wrote the words and music as well as handling the producing duties.
Since his first album was released in 1992, Kim has usually released a new album every year. This time, however, he worked on the album for two and a half years, partially because he was busy with other projects, and partially for his creativity.
"I was absorbed in producing the debut album for the 'pimp rock' band Silver Spoon," he explained. "It was my first time producing for another singer. Also, I also wanted personal time to recharge my musical career. ... I am looking forward to being a more diligent producer and singer."
Kim Jong-seo appeared on a late afternoon on a side road by Deoksu palace in Jeong-dong. He seemed to have lost quite a lot of weight, perhaps due to the last-minute preparations and other work on his new album, but the expression of his eyes was as bright as ever.
He almost sounded like he was set for a second debut as a singer: "I am planning on appearing on more television programs and staging many concerts."
For fans who have awaited his return, the singer is kicking off a national tour to accompany the release of the album.
"I would like to take my tour to small provincial cities where they are less exposed to the concert culture," he said.
The album consists of 12 tracks which vary in style and includes two instrumental songs. "Absolute Love" is a treat for listeners who still cherish his famous ballads "Silent You" and "Winter Rain."
The last track "Happy Day" has a tranquil style that goes along well with the singer's rich and sentimental voice.
"Purple Rain" successfully combines Kim's vocal with the jazz pianist Kim Kwang-min's lyrical performance, and the Beatles-style "Panic" has a dreamy feel to it － just two of his many songs that combine musical genres.
"I want to become a musician who is constantly stimulating to younger singers," he said. "I know it won't be easy, because it is easier to get tied up or in a rut musically."
The chain-smoking singer is not known to be much of a drinker. However, since his fourth album, Kim Jong-seo has gotten into the habit of gulping down a can of beer at the end of a day. The reason for the new habit? "The melodies that spin around in my head make it impossible to fall asleep," he said.
by Choe Jae-hee