[NEW RELEASES] The 'Best Of' Korea's Darlings

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[NEW RELEASES] The 'Best Of' Korea's Darlings

When you are taken with a song and want to buy the artist's album, but are unfamiliar with the other tracks on the record, a safe bet might be to buy the artist's "best of" album, if it exists.

Some of the artists most loved by Koreans have recently released "best of" albums.

One of the most popular groups in Korea, Toy, led by the musician You Hee-yeol, recently put out "History of Toy." Paul Anka, once an idol in Korea, released "The Very Best of Paul Anka" onto the Korean market Saturday. And the sixth album of the New Age pianist Andre Gagnon, who has captivated Koreans since 1997, is not a "best of" album but a collection of songs previously unreleased here and specially packaged for the Korean market. It is called "Saisons" ("Seasons").

Toy: "History of Toy"

Toy was started by You Hee-yeol as a "project" group. It uses the talents of different musicians and has no fixed group of members. From its conception in 1993, Toy has released four albums to popular acclaim. Mr. You, a student in the Department of Composition at Seoul National University, is also a radio DJ on the local music scene.

This "best of" album comes with a music video CD of the group's 14 hit pop songs, such as "Baraem" ("Wish").

Paul Anka: "The Very Best of Paul Anka"

Despite having turned 60, Paul Anka shows no sign of slowing down. This, incredibly his 123d album, contains about 20 songs, both his fans' favorites - including "Diana" and "You Are My Destiny" - and new material. The singer, whose "My Way" is best known as a rendition by Frank Sinatra, could rekindle memories of the "good old days" for some listeners.

Andre Gagnon: "Saisons"

After the financial crisis struck in late 1997, Koreans desperately needed comforting. And they found it in a Canadian New Age pianist named Andre Gagnon, previously an unknown in the Korean music scene.

Though it took time for the 61-year-old pianist to make his name on the international market, he shot to stardom in Korea as soon as he released his first album, "Monologue," here in 1997. His tranquil and restful sound was a much-needed balm for the troubled lives of so many Koreans. His next four albums sold over 300,000 copies between them - an extremely successful record for a pianist in Korea.

The success of Andre Gagnon spawned similar artists such as the Japanese New Age pianists Yuki Guramoto and Isao Sasaki, even creating a fad over New Age piano music.

So far his timing has been perfect. The pianist will test his luck once again with his latest album, "Saisons." Containing 14 new recordings of old hit tracks previously unreleased in Korea, the album is specifically geared toward the Korean market, even featuring his reworking of a Korean popular song, "Gasinamu" ("Thorn Tree").

Those won over by the sounds of Andre Gagnon will be pleased to hear he is scheduled to play a solo concert in Pusan on June 16 and in Seoul the following day.

by Chun Su-jin

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