Sunday, June 13, 2010

Album Review: The Shouts of Reds, United Korea - Various Artists

Various Artists - The Shouts of Reds, United Korea
Rating: D+
Label: KT Music
Release Date: 2010
Relevant Links: Mediafire

Oh yeah, 2010! Has it been four years already since the last World Cup? I wouldn't know since I'm American, and not the only American who cares about soccer. I guess it has been four years, since here in Korea we are currently under an auditory onslaught of soccer propaganda songs. Today I'm going to crack open the CD I got for free at the convenient store on the first floor of the random office building I work in.

The CD, poorly titled, The Shouts of Reds, United Korea, is a compilation album filled with a bunch of bands I actually like a little bit so maybe it might be a little awesome. I figure the best way to do this would be to write about each track, since it's a compilation.

Track 1 - "Intro" by JJ
I have no idea who JJ is. I'm pretty sure it's not the creator of Lost, but I could be wrong. This song basically sounds like some kind of Final Fantasy I or II music when you get an airship with soccer chants bellowed over it. Oh and there's also what my friend, Pete, dubbed a "white room solo," aka a schlocky 1980's power ballad guitar solo (in the video the dudes playing these were always in a white room). It's a pretty cheesy song, which as an intro does not bode well...

Track 2 - "국가대표팀의 테마 (우리는 하나)" by HAM
"Korean National Team's Theme (We Are One)" by HAM...I don't know who HAM are, but they are boring. They sound like a bargain basement version of Davichi...oh there's a dude too. They sound like a bargain basement version of 8ight (that's pronounce Eight for those of you keeping score). The song's a power ballad I guess...only with a part that sounds like that Cher song that was all about Autotune or a vocoder or whatever the hell she used. This song is pretty terribly, but I know as soon as I finish listening to it I won't be able to remember anything about it, which I guess makes it more forgettable than terrible.

Track 3 - "태양은 있다" by 부활
I actually know who these guys are and know what to expect from them. They are all about rock ballads and tasty guitar licks. So far the rock ballad part has been check off. I'm still waiting on a tasty guitar lick. Fuck! There's not a tasty guitar lick yet, but there are some 1980's Van Halen "Jump," synths going on. This song is kind of awesome in an ironic hipster way. Gang vocals! Alright! Still waiting on a tasty lick better not let me down. One minute left...where's my solo dudes? Oh there it's totally buried beneath gang vocals. I guess this is a song dudes in a stadium are supposed to be able to rock along with so I can kind of understand emphasizing gang vocals over guitar heroics. A little disappointed though...there are enough quasi-punk bands on this comp., that it's a little pointless for 80's hard rock bands to do gang vocals. Maybe Copy Machine will rock some tasty licks...though I doubt it.

Track 4 - "우리는 이긴다" by 제8극장
This song is really weird. I saw Phantom of the Opera last week. It reminds me of that...mixed with Queen...mixed with a bar band. The lyrics are also pretty great since unlike every other soccer jam that's about "WE ARE CHAMPIONS!!!" this one talks about sitting on the couch watching soccer on TV with your buddies before yelling about being winners. It's actually a little bit awesome. TASTY LICKS!!! YES!!! Theater #8 you are my new lord and savior! This song alone is worth the price of zero won that I paid for it. Well I'm going to have to check those dudes out. Thanks The Shouts of Reds!

Track 5 - "The Shouts of Reds" by Transfixion
I've actually heard this song...a lot. It's in a bunch of TV commercials these days. Plus my wife is all about this band. I think she downloaded this track already. I've written about Transfixion before. They're kind of old school pre-cornrows Guns n' Roses-esque. Really anthemic hard rock that's kind of punkish. The lead singer is a good looking guy which I guess why most of the people who are at their shows are ladies. Anyway this song is pretty much what I would expect from these guys on an album about a soccer team. I'm not disappointed.

Track 6 - "대한민국 No. 1" by 리쌍
One of the better mainstream rap groups in Korea. I like them because they have a guy with a really low voice that raps/sings really slow. I can do a decent imitation of him. The other guy with a normal voice seems to be more heavily featured on this track, but it's still pretty decent. I would not be annoyed if I heard this song on the radio or saw it on some kind of music video channel a bunch. Shit! They have TASTY LICKS TOO!!! Alright this track gets an A+!

Track 7 - "일어나라 대한민국" by Crying Nut
The begining of this song reminds me of early 80's MTV rock...and now it's time for a punk rock guitar solo and pogoing. I liked the early 80's MTV rock part better. It reminded me of Big Country. The rest of the song reminds me of being sweaty at some all-day rock festival and wanting punch people in the kidneys that were trying to do crowd surfing. Big Country > Wanting To Punch Strangers Who Kicked You In The Head As They Randomly Passed Over You

Track 8 - "대한불패" by Kingston Rudieska
Less than 20 seconds before someone commanded me to "pickitup! pickitup!" Ah yeah it's time for ska. I don't know why, but most ska annoys the hell out of me. This is even worse than standard issue ska because of the lyrical content. Basically every song on this compilation is super patriotic. Imagine taking the lyrics from the most bullshit piece of shit country song you've ever heard and sticking them on some other musical genre without any irony at all. That's what's going on here. This song like is Skankin' Pickle playing "God Bless The U.S.A." without any of that snarky sarcasm that seemed so prevalent with ska bands of that ilk. It's bad.

Track 9 - "승리의 노래" by Burning Hepburn
Fuck this shit! These fuckers jacked "When the Saints Go Marching In," and turned it into a shitty song that yells "Ole," a lot. Were Burning Hepburn always this bad? I thought I liked them before.

Track 10 - "우리의 한국" by Copy Machine
More trumpets (or keyboards pretending to be trumpets). This is a little bit better than Burning Hepburn. For some reason this song makes me think of "America Fuck Yeah!" Which I guess is lyrically similar to most of these songs. This particular song basically consists of the following lyrics, "Ole Ole Republic of Korea! Ole Ole oh Our Korea! Korea! Korea! Korea!" That's about it...

Track 11 - "아리랑" by 이은미
"아리랑," is not Korea's national anthem. I guess it's like the Korean version of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Everyone knows this song. It reminds Korean of Korea. It's not particularly difficult to sing. It's a very similar jam (in terms of meaning). This particular rendition has more record scratching and porno wah-wah guitar so it's awesome. This is another track I could listen to again from time to time. I probably wouldn't skip it every time it came on my i-pod.

Track 12 - "승리 위하여 (2010 Version)" by Transfixion
I guess Transfixion have made a career out of crafting soccer theme songs. This is an updated version of their 2006 World Cup theme song. So far it doesn't sound all that different from the original. I'm waiting for some kind of guest rapper to pop up or random techno drum machines or something, but so far it seems almost exactly the same. Oh, spoke too soon...unexpected orchestra/harpsichord happened. That was not really what I expected the update to this song to be. It was not terrible I guess.

And I guess that's it. For a free CD it was not that terrible. Most of the songs were pretty average. Some were below average. 제8극장 was awesome and now I have to go track down their discography. Thanks a lot The Shouts of Reds...thanks a lot.

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