[Album] Hanul (Rottyful Sky) – Voice of Purity

Hanul debuted in 2001 as part of the wave of young female soloists (alongside BoA, Dana, Joanne, etc.). She gained some popularity with her cover of Shocking Blue’s hit song, Venus, although her follow-up releases didn’t quite do as well. She made a return in 2010 as Rottyful Sky and unfortunately passed away at the age of 25 in 2013. Voice of Purity is her first and only album.

Released: August 16, 2001
1. Saturday My Love
2. Laughter (웃기네)
3. Come On
4. I Love You (Remix) (사랑해요)
5. Teacher
6. First Love (첫사랑)
7. Shaken Up
8. Oppa, I Love You (오빠, 사랑해)
9. Laughter (Funky Version) (웃기네)
10. I Love You (사랑해요)
11. Almost 100 (등교길)
12. Free Bird

Saturday My Love is a bright summery pop song with its explosive brass-synths and bouncy piano. The verses are pretty forgettable, but the chorus is definitely more interesting. The execution is simple and it does a decent job although it’s not the type of song that would be revisited often. The parts that Hanul actually does is a bit short as there are quite a few rap breaks.

Laughter continues that high energy but with a bit of rock influence. This is a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus” and I feel like the vibe is totally different from the original. I find the original a bit corny, but the music and Hanul’s mature vocals change the song around. It still has that catchy hook of the original which works so well with the heavier rock backdrop. There is an odd rap feature in the middle though.

Come On was the first song I heard from Hanul and it’s a thumping dance tune that is reminiscent of many K-Pop tunes from the late 90’s/early 00’s. It’s really good though. I love the verses and the thumping works great with the more attitude infused delivery. The prechorus and chorus isn’t as strong, but it’s still quite catchy. I wish the melody was a bit stronger as the powerful beat and electric guitar undertone gives the music a lot of energy.

I Love You (Remix Version) is cute and reminds me more of the first song although with a heavier dance feel. I don’t think the music totally works well with melody and there is a bit of disconnect between the two. The chorus is a bit better at it, but the melody just doesn’t have enough punch to keep up with the music. It’s not bad.

Teacher keeps up the energy with another dance tune, although this time we have something more disco influenced. I love the verses and the switching between the vocals to background vocals to rap is a really cool aspect. The chorus is also quite catchy. I like the darker tone to the melody, although Hanul does sound more youthful in the song.

First Love is the slowest song on the album and even then it’s still more of a midtempo pop tune. Especially after all the high energy pop songs, it is a nice change of pace. The music has a lot of energy, while the melody does work nicely on top. I don’t think it’s the catchiest, but it has some charming parts to it. It’s simple and sweet.

Shaken Up is really great. It has some great disco elements to it with the flying synths and a thumping beat. I think this is the catchiest song since Laughter and it has a fun melody that works great with the funky arrangement. The only thing I don’t really like is the odd rap break that pops up. It just doesn’t fit.  I’m surprised this wasn’t released as a follow-up single as it reminds me of a Geri Halliwell song.

Oppa, I Love You is a latin inspired dance tune similar to something Baek Ji Young was doing at the time. It’s a really cool tune and I quite like the different sound it brings to the album. The verses are fantastic and I love the attitude it has. The chorus isn’t as memorable, but it does work well with the music. My major problem is that odd dance break that comes halfway through the song. It’s horrible and ruins the flow of the song.

The Funky Version of Laughter starts off differently, but the music is more dance-oriented than rock. It’s still a catchy tune, although I prefer the music of the original. The original version of I Love You shows up a little later in the album, which is a bit odd. It’s slower and exchanges the dance beats for a light pop sound. I actually like the remix version more as it has more energy. This version definitely fits the melody better, but it’s a bit dull.

Almost 100 is a funky pop tune with some jazz influence. I love the use of brass as it works really well with the fun beat. I think the song is nicely done, but it would have actually suited someone with more mature vocals as Hanul sounds really youthful here. Also, the rap break once again ruins the flow of the song. It’s still a tune with a great arrangement.

Free Bird is a bit of an outlier just because it has a strong R&B sound. It would have worked a bit better after Come On and not at the end of the album. With that said, it’s still a pretty popular sound of this era of K-Pop. The song has potential but reminds me a lot of a BoA album filler. It’s not bad, but just largely forgettable.

Overall: This was a pretty decent debut album. I was not expecting most of the songs to be upbeat dance tunes, which was a nice surprise. With that said, there were only a few standout songs. My main problem with the songs is that there are some odd rap breaks that feature in most of the song and it really ruins the flow because they don’t fit. Also, I feel like the melodies could have been worked on to be catchier. Still, it’s a solid album.