With the rest of Day6’s members in the army, Wonpil has stepped up to the plate, debuting as a solo artist with his album Pilmography. This ten track album is filled with soulful ballads that show the transition from winter to spring– melancholic, bittersweet, and renewal. If Young K’s Eternal took on a rocker-type feel to it, Wonpil’s solo definitely feels more like a romance novel, filled with beautiful imagery and compositions in both the lyrics and music. If Pilmography is a romance novel, then Wonpil is most definitely the protagonist who takes us along on his journey to move on from a broken heart.
The album opens with “Voiceless”, which is also the title track of the album. It is heart-wrenching and sorrowful, immediately hitting the listener with these emotions of sadness. Much like the main character of many romance novels, Wonpil sings about having to leave a loved one for the sake of their own happiness, as much as it hurts him. He understands his selfishness and how he has hurt the other, and as a result, he chooses to let them be free.
“Sincerity” immediately follows after, and it sets up the tension between the two characters prior to the break up. The song opens with a piano ballad that builds up to a synth-heavy chorus where we hear how high Wonpil’s range extends to. As effortlessly as Wonpil hits those high notes, the emotions in his voice suggest otherwise, and the buildup to the highest notes creates a suffocating feeling, almost as if the protagonist is desperately trying to reconcile with his partner but to no avail:
The farewell that started, can’t be stopped
I wish you well, be happy
These words I don’t want to hear yet
The words “go away”
“A writer in a love story,” “Walk with me,” and “Stranded” are the only happy love songs in this entire album. When listening to them in the context of the album, these feel bittersweet as opposed to the happy and carefree feelings one may have when they are in love. The songs feel more like the protagonist recalling past memories and reminiscing the days when him and his partner were happy together, as well as remembering how his partner helped him through his loneliness.
These songs definitely have a more upbeat feel to them, with “A writer in a love story” taking on more jazz-inspired melodies, and “Stranded” incorporating blues and swing to give a more peppy feel to the song. Of course, in typical Day6 fashion, as happy as the lyrics and melodies are, there are always hints of sadness scattered throughout the song:
I’m anxious because I’m so happy
I don’t know when it will disappear
Loving you means being with you
I hope for eternity that I did not believe in“A writer in a love story”
My heart is full of wounded wounds
There will be no more sorrow
Too sweet, too sweet
Surprised, surprised, surprised
I won’t be alone on this island anymore“Stranded”
We return to more bittersweet songs with “Someday, spring will come,” acting as a form of comfort to the listener with its uplifting message. As the pandemic continues for yet another year, and the dream that someday we will go back to living like how we used to feels even more like a dream, “Someday, spring will come” serves as a reminder that no matter how dark the days are, or how rough the road is, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. With relation to Wonpil’s journey as the main protagonist, this track feels like a message to oneself, like one of those days where there is no one to comfort you aside from yourself and your own words, and how we continue to push on despite the difficulties. Although this interpretation of the track does feel a little more depressing and dark, the glimmer of hope that someday, spring will come continues to linger.
Much like a bell curve, the overall mood and atmosphere of Pilmography takes a dip with “Pieces.” Despite its pop-like sound, the lyrics are anything but happy. It is through this song that we hear more of Wonpil’s lower register as opposed to the other tracks. This track also feels a bit more monotonous, but that does not mean it is boring or uneventful. Rather, it stands out from the rest of the tracks in the album due to its repetitiveness, and creates the feeling of living day by day and never getting any breaks. There is a sense of emotional and mental exhaustion, but due to its simple and repetitive melody, it feels as if the protagonist continues to trudge on only because he has to.
Out of all the tracks, “Last goodbye” is the most stripped back and heart-wrenching track. It consists of only Wonpil’s vocals and the piano melody, much like Day6’s “I’ll Try.” The protagonist finally learns to let go of those days he had with his partner, in an attempt to move onto other things and live his life without them. With how experimental the other tracks have been, “Last goodbye” takes us back to the basics while still carrying emotional weight and never losing its impact, which goes to show that a simple track can be amazing:
So that I don’t miss you anymore
Even if I miss you
I’ll still live my life with patience
After saying our last goodbye alone
I’ll say this to you one last time
“I loved you”
“Unpainted canvas” is a beautiful track that honours Wonpil’s journey as an artist thus far. Co-written with 1415, the track is hopeful and uplifting, using drawing and painting as metaphors for life. It explores the idea of things not going the way as planned, and while it may seem that others are doing better than you, it does not mean that we should give up, but rather we should continue to try and keep our head up. The positive pop ballad swells during the chorus, much like the motivational music we hear during a seminar, only that the lyrics are definitely one that is filled with hope and optimism towards the future.
Pilmography closes with “A journey,” signaling the protagonist finally moving on from his heartache and taking on a new adventure where he will focus on growing and learning from his mistakes. Even though he knows that the road is long and will be filled with sad moments, he continues to move forward. It serves as the closing chapter of the story, but also as a farewell from Wonpil to his fans. Considering that the rest of Day6 is currently in the army, it is very likely that Wonpil will be enlisting as well, meaning that fans of Day6 will be left without any content from any of the members for awhile. As bittersweet as it is to see Day6 on their hiatus, we know that their journey as a band is not over yet, and this farewell is only temporary:
Anyway, wish me luck
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
I will go now
Wonpil’s Pilmography is beautifully executed and crafted, showcasing his strengths as an artist outside of Day6. It certainly has been interesting to see how each member presents their talents as a solo artist, and how it differs from the sound that they create together as a band. Pilmography tells the story of a protagonist moving on from his heartbreak, and stepping into the future with confidence despite its uncertainties. I think it is fair to say that we all look forward to seeing what Wonpil continues to create as a soloist, and wish him luck on his journey.