Wonpil’s ‘Pilmography’ review: A colorful reflection on loss and starting anew

Tristan Ahorro

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Wonpil’s ‘Pilmography’ review: A colorful reflection on loss and starting anew

Wonpil's Facebook Page

Creating a solo debut album was a new challenge for the DAY6 singer

With a total of 112 songs registered under his name (KOMCA), Wonpil of South Korean band DAY6 (JYP Entertainment) is no stranger to music-making. Yet, creating a solo debut album was a new challenge for him. How could he make “Pilmography” distinctly his? It turns out, by being consistently heartfelt.

The album opens with the title track, “Voiceless,” a song about love that was not meant to be. (The music video interprets it as a relationship between a writer and a mermaid. The album’s concept follows this storyline). It has heartrending lyrics accompanied by classical instruments, suitable for a timeless tale.

Wonpil stands out from other artists in the industry because of how he sings. He doesn’t merely hit the notes, but he also tells a story. Because of this, listeners can empathize with Wonpil’s characters. I highly recommend watching his Live Clip for this track, where you can clearly hear his intentions.

If you survive through this pain
Your tomorrow would be a better day
Than the days you stood by my side

“Sincerity,” meanwhile, starts off with a melancholic piano, and as Wonpil sings, synth and electro sounds seep in. By the chorus, the instruments are on full blast, as if he were falling through the sky. In terms of musicality, I think this is one of the more interesting songs on the album.

Don’t, stop it
If you could give me a moment
I’ll try anything
So that you would swallow the words you were going to say

Wonpil then enters a fantasy world with “A writer in a love story.” Inspired by fairy tales, this track is a mood-changer with its whimsical, jazz-pop sounds and romantic lyrics. He sings that if he were an author, he would give him and his lover a happy story. 

Even if you bite a poisoned apple
Even if I lost my shoes
I’ll make a happy ending, oh-oh

The writer’s romance continues with “Walk with me.” Here the happy couple ends a long day with a lovely night stroll. With soft, country-style guitars and Wonpil’s smooth voice, it’s a heartwarming song that doesn’t need anything more.

I won’t rush
I will walk at your pace
Always by your side
Together forever so you can lean on me and rest

“Stranded” is about being alone on an island until one finds oneself in the company of their beloved. Wonpil sings out his happiness in this funky, indie-pop track. A quaint “pop!” sound is occasionally heard here, giving the song an extra charm. Wonpil’s voice is as delightful as ever.

A loner who was stranded to a remote island
You won’t be lonely anymore
Now it’s differ-differ-different, surpri-surpri-surprising
I finally met you, where I can lean on

The breeze sweeps through this island on “Someday, spring will come,” a song of reassurance. It’s another calm track that talks of the hardships people are facing. However, Wonpil sings that everything will be okay. This can be interpreted as the writer character giving himself strength in order to come to terms with the loss he is facing.

You’ll be happy, all the painful wounds
Forget and erase everything
Someday, spring will come

Now that the writer is ready for reality, we get the next track called “Pieces.” Here, he is looking at the spoils of a breakup that had happened. The music is cool R&B that doesn’t go to the extremes. Just before the song could reach a climax, it dissipates. Perhaps the writer is overwhelmed so he hinders himself from fully feeling the pain.

I’m like a trash can without a lid
Even if it’s overflowing, there’s too much of you
Tracing memories, painful memories
It’s full, I want to empty it quickly

“Last Goodbye” is where the writer lets out all of his feelings. You only hear two instruments – the piano and Wonpil’s voice. Fans of DAY6 would know that, sometimes, this is all Wonpil needs when performing. With the music sounding bare and the lyrics containing unfiltered thoughts, Wonpil shares his vulnerability.

After saying our last goodbye alone
I’ll say this to you one last time
“I loved you”

Unpainted canvas” sounds like a drama OST or a rock song from the late 2000s. It evokes nostalgia as Wonpil looks back at his life from childhood to adulthood. The lyrics describe how things look different now from how he imagined the future to be when he was younger. Somberness is felt throughout the track, but there is also hope, as Wonpil sings that he will continue to “draw” until he realizes his ideal image one day.

It might be sad to see something more brilliant than this
But I’ll continue to draw again
If I draw it without regrets
I’ll be able to draw it

Finally, we are taken into “A journey,” with sounds that would remind one of a video game or anime theme song. He synthesizes his whole journey so far, preparing for a new chapter. What’s next may be unknown, yet he is singing with confidence. It’s a meaningful way to end the album since Wonpil will be enlisting in the military soon. (You can watch the exciting live performance of this song here).

Wish me happiness in my future
When the season goes by and comes back
I’ll be a better me
Please look forward to it

Like in DAY6’s whole discography, what’s consistent in Wonpil’s solo songs is that despite exploring different genres, the lyrics remain heartfelt. “Pilmography” is a colorful reflection of loss and of starting a new journey. It isn’t necessarily a loss of a romantic love but a love of the time that has passed. The future is uncertain, but he trusts that things will be alright, so he will continue to do his best.

In his Live Talk, he said he wanted to make an album that would comfort people. The album’s themes, despite being specific to Wonpil’s circumstances, are universal.

You can listen to Wonpil and the rest of DAY6 on all official streaming platforms. Wonpil will hold his solo concert from March 11 to 13, 2022. The last show can be viewed online through Beyond LIVE (more details on DAY6’s official pages). – Rappler.com

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