[ENTERTAINMENT]Scrambled, but overall it works well

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Scrambled, but overall it works well

As a pop star, it isn't easy to be greatly appreciated and loved by the multitudes while going your own way and doing your own thing.

But that is what Lee Seung-hwan has accomplished. Not swayed by fads and trends, Lee has steadily made music that expresses his own identity without compromising for the mainstream.

This weekend he releases his seventh album, titled "Egg." This new album is out to please all of his easy listening fans, starting with the lead-off single, "Fault."

The album comes in two formats. You can either buy a 2-CD collection - "Sunny Side Up" which features soft ballads, and "Over Easy," which has Lee attempting various musical experiments - or else you can buy "Sunny Side Up" by itself.

"Sunny Side Up" consists of 12 songs. The title track is a strongly melodic ballad where Lee confesses in the lyrics that "The toughest job in writing a song is keeping it simple and direct." For those expecting Lee's trademark music, the mournful yet serene ballad, "Farewell ... And That Verge of Chaos" is recommended.

To please those fans in their 30s who have probably grown into adulthood listening to Lee, "Late Fall" is a strong song full of nostalgia. "Notion of a Blue Morning" is also an impressively arranged song with a rich and exotic atmosphere.

On the final track, "Mother," Lee confides, "It was the first time I ever cried writing the lyrics." He talks about the pain and sorrow of mothers whose children suffer from leukemia. Lee's heartbreaking delivery will bring tears to one's eyes. He has even donated his concert profits to these juvenile patients.

The songs in "Over Easy" are more upbeat and fun. If you have enjoyed Lee's songs on his previous albums, this might be the suitable record for you.

Fresh, vibrant sounds and new arrangements can be found in the lyrical tracks such as "Dangerous Paradise" and "Waiting for Payback."

Another special treat for his fans would be the much talked about music video for the first single, which cost a whopping 700 million won (about $550,000). The science-fiction spectacular even includes an appearance by the robot C-3PO of Star Wars fame.

This new album is a result of the singer-songwriter's conundrum about how to embrace his wider array of fans of all ages.

In many ways, this album is an amalgamation of all his previous music work. Lee should be credited for producing a record that is highly detailed, with equal exacting standards given to the vocals, arrangement and accompaniment.

Now that Lee has reached the ripe old age of 35, it feels strange to use his old nickname, "The Little Prince." But it is simply gratifying to be able to hear how his music has matured over time.

Lee is set to have a nationwide tour to promote his seventh album, starting Dec. 23. For more information, call 02-485-7751~2.

by Choi Jae-hee

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