By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 1, 2013 - 20:29
  • Updated : Feb 1, 2013 - 20:29
4men vocals soar on ‘The True Story’

“The 5th Album Vol.1 (The True Story)”
(CJ E&M)

The ballad trio of 4Men continues to showcase its trademark soulful sound with its fifth album. Although the boys did not venture into any innovative styles, Shin Yong-jae’s voice carries the album as a whole and together 4Men release another noteworthy R&B collection.

The album’s main track, “Hello It’s Me” is a mid-tempo ballad that starts off with a slow piano riff while highlighting Shin’s distinctive and passionate vocals throughout the song. “But I” is another rock ballad piece that brilliantly shows off the members vocal ranges and taps into the very core of a person’s emotions through heartfelt lyrics and serenading. This is a theme that is carried throughout the rest of the album.

Staying true to what the trio is best known to accomplish, “The True Story” is poetically expressive, full of soul and affectionately tugs at the hearts of listeners.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

Gary Allan delivers edgy new album

Gary Allan
“Set You Free‘’
(MCA Nashville)

Gary Allan shows younger country singers the difference between true emotion and posturing on his searing new album, “Set You Free.” Allan avoids all Nashville trends and clicheuros, as he has for most of his 17-year recording career. Instead, he digs deep into edgy songs that balance pain and self-reckoning with gritty determination and, ultimately, a hard-earned transcendence.

Experimenting with sounds and textures, Allan co-produced seven of the 11 tracks while collaborating with three different producers, among them the red-hot Jay Joyce. Allan also co-wrote five cuts, including the current country radio hit, “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain).” After recent vocal surgery, the California native sounds more expressive than ever, and the roller-coaster of feelings he instills in “Set You Free” illustrates why he‘s among the few contemporary country stars deserving of being called an artist.


Kristofferson combats mortality

Kris Kristofferson
``Feeling Mortal‘’

As the title “Feeling Mortal” implies, singer-songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson confronts the consequences of aging in this album of stripped-to-the-bone acoustic songs. At 76, Kristofferson has grown into his ragged rasp of a voice, which fits with lyrics that deal with being “here today and gone tomorrow,” as he sings in the title cut.

Typical of his past work, Kristofferson‘s new tunes delineate his feelings in descriptive verse that is unflinchingly honest and ultimately full of wonder. Compassionate toward others and uncompromising about himself, Kristofferson offers heartfelt observations about love, family, morality and “the right to be righteously wrong,” as stated in the stubbornly independent “You Don’t Tell Me What To Do.”

Throughout, he reminds us of how powerful a plainspoken song can be. He may feel mortal, but he knows a good song can last forever.