Wow, where did this come from? “10 Stories,” the first solo album by INFINITE’s main vocal Sunggyu, is a bouquet of sharply composed pop tracks with some of the most engaging melodies we’ve heard from K-pop this month. Title track “True Love” has that soulful, atmospheric sweetness that makes you think of the early 2000s Western pop scene. It’s not immune to the slight cheesiness that you often heard from such saccharine pop, but the composition’s so well-developed that it sweeps you up with it. That sentence could be applied to most of the album. The earnest melodies, along with Sunggyu’s rich vocal, make this album a buried treasure.
The dense pop texture of “True Love” provides a warmly spacious backdrop for its composition to stretch out, and stretch out it does. In the verses, a tentative vocal melody plays over stuttering piano rhythms, building up a dynamic of hesitancy that delivers a rush of joy when it breaks triumphantly into the no-holds-barred chorus. Easily the loveliest part is the peak of the chorus, where thickly echoing background vocals deliver a staggered melody that quickly tumbles into the conclusion of the hook. There’s a suspense in the space in between those notes as your ear awaits the continuation of the melody, and Sunggyu delivers it as gracefully as you expect of him.
The rest of the album is well worth at least one listen all the way through, if not several. The R&B-flavored “What Did I Say” featuring PUNCHNELLO kicks the album off strong, but slower songs such as piano ballad “Vanishing Days” and “Mirror” shine just as brightly. The heavy pop of “Sorry” echoes the title track with its enthralling dynamic, and the glassy, slightly strange sound of “City of Angels” is beguiling. If this is Sunggyu’s identity as a solo artist, I hope we see more of it very soon, because it’s as successful as any of INFINITE’s best music.
TRUE LOVE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Boppy.
Take a look at Sunggyu’s “True Love” MV below: