I’m falling in love with visual albums.

I first heard of visual albums when Beyoncé released her sixth album, Lemonade. That was a full 60-minute video that surprised and left me with chills. I know that there are many visual albums that came before and since, but it’s only been recently that I was reintroduced to the concept.

Visual albums. A creative undertaking. The production of a series of videos or a single film as a vehicle for the music of an entire album.

(Here’s an article by CNN Philippines on a brief history of visual albums.)

I’m really liking what I see in my timeline so far. Got any other recommendations?

Nadine Lustre – Wildest Dreams (2020)

I’ve replayed this video so many times??? I’ve watched while studying and while relaxing. I just enjoy seeing the dedication that went into making each play as dreamlike as possible.

Like dreams, there’s a little bit of everything all at once: something hopeful, something brave, something terrible. I also loved the transitional pieces and the spoken word poetry which tried to weave the story together. It’s really a short film more than a full visual recording (there were six other tracks not included in the video).

I’m a fan of Nadine Lustre‘s sheer charisma as a performer, regardless of her merits as a songwriter or vocalist. Her debut full-length album, released October 31, featured songs with strong beats, soft melodies, and lyrics reflecting her changing identity.

Even with the probable limitations of a pandemic, the production value was impressive. Easily the highlight of the album. The clothes were stunning; they enhanced the visual experience. The variety of moods created by the different sets was in a completely different level from anything else I’ve seen in the Philippine music industry. Kudos also to dancers and everyone involved in the album. Wildest Dreams, produced by Careless Music, was directed by Dominic Bekaert with the production house Zoopraxi Studios.

Watch the 33-minute visual album here:

My favorite tracks might be Glow, Grey Skies, and Wildest Dreams. The kulintang-like sequence in Glow was an addicting touch. Incidentally, Wildest Dreams was also my favorite track from Taylor Swift’s 1989.

FILM: KAI (开) (2020)

Kai, or Kim Jong-in, is a member of the group Exo under SM Entertainment. I don’t follow that group with the same enthusiasm as I follow other Kpop groups and soloists. But if I had to choose my favorites, it would be Kai and Chanyeol. Given that, I was surprised that Kai was finally debuting as a solo artist. It’s been years since his debut as a group performer.

(Click to see my Kpop blogging tag.)

Watching his visual album sampler, you can make a very educated guess as to why it took a while for him to come out with his solo mini album. KAI (开) is a work of art. It feels like a culmination of years of development and transformation. The sampler showcases the performer’s natural talent and honed skill, and also the industry’s best in music production, direction, and choreography.

Watch the 7-minute visual album sampler here:

KAI (开) features R&B-influenced songs that serve as a canvas for the artist’s dancing and singing. From the album sampler, I liked the visuals and rhythm of Hello Stranger and Reason the best. His lead single, Mmmh (음), is smooth as hell.

(Watch the full music video of the lead single Mmmh (음) here.)

As a visual person, seeing these works of art while listening to great music is such a treat. I am absolutely looking forward to more artists and performers coming out with even better and greater films.

Until next time!

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