April 20, 2018 The Rose – Void (Album Review)
When two buskers (street performers) met on a busy street in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea, in 2015, they hoped for success, but did not dream of what was in store for them and the two friends made along the way. Three years later, on Tuesday, April 16, 2018, under the band name The Rose, they released their first mini-album/EP, Void, thanks to J&Star Company.
It is said that DoJoon (vocal, keyboard, acoustic guitar) and Jaehyeong (bass, backup vocal) initially met while trying to make a few extra bucks on the street. DoJoon was scared of disobeying his management at the time, and soon chose to not come around as often. Jaehyeong ended up meeting another busker while in a recording studio, and soon Hajoon (drums, vocal, rap) was Jaehyeong’s busking buddy.
They knew they wanted a larger, stronger band, so Jaehyeong set out on a mission. As luck would have it, DoJoon left his management team and had begun busking again. Clearly the busking gods were on Jaehyeong’s side and he was able to convince DoJoon to join. As a trio they were known as Windfall, and had posted several videos online of their covers while behind-the-scenes they were working on their own music. Though, they knew they were missing something and continued the quest. Enter WooSung (vocals, electric guitar), a friend of a friend of DoJoon, and The Rose, a British Pop, Korean Rock band, was born.
In August of 2017, they released their first song, “Sorry,” penned by their own Hajoon, entering them into the mainstream of Pop and British Rock. Rolling Stone India praised the song, and with that fuel, The Rose released another single, “Like We Used To,” in October of 2017. As their name started to grow, so did their fanbase, and in December of 2017, Billboard announced “Sorry” was one of the Top Korean Pop Songs of the Year.
With such attention, they set out: starting in Europe on their sold-out Paint it Rose tour. Hitting cities like Brussels, Moscow, Istanbul, Budapest, and London. Soon after, they announced a U.S. tour set to start mid-May 2018. Though, before one can tour the U.S., one must come out with an album, and so they did. Hence the release of Void!
Consisting of 9 tracks, Void opens with “Candy (So Good),” which sounds straight out of The 1975’s handbook. In fact, the plucky, high-note guitar beat with the sexually-charged lyrics are so well-meshed, it is hard to believe it is not a 1975 song. Yes, the majority of the lyrics are in Korean, however, the chorus is in English, and with the power of the internet, the songs are easily-translated by multilingual fans. Once the lyrics are read, you can see the lyrical lust the song’s music plays off of.
The follow-up, “Baby,” has a totally different sound and lyrically explores heartbreak. It starts with a simple piano beat, followed up by a bass drum that leads into a beat amp-up for the chorus and subsequent verses. Then, in the middle of the song, the beat stops. No, not drops: halts completely. A small breath is taken, and then an epic rock-out, band-jam happens that makes one want to run down the street in a heartbroken frenzy.
What comes after lust and heartbreak? Love, obviously! Coming up next is “I.L.Y.,” an acronym for “I Love You,” and a sweet ballad one would want as a first dance as a married couple. It starts with the first half simply piano and Woosung’s uniquely calm, sensual vocals. When they reach the second verse, it builds with DoJoon’s vocal ability, simply and slowly with guitar and drums making their entrance.
Additionally, the following two songs on the album were their first singles: “Sorry” and “Like We Used To” are both slow-building, gut-wrenching love and heartbreak songs. Yes, they cover the whole spectrum of what most bands can cover in multiple songs in a singular one. They do this twice!
Overall, The Rose capture British Pop Rock in a Korean world. Their music covers the bases of love, heartache, repair, and moving on with beats to match; slow and steady, loud and fast, building and breaking down. They have what it takes to succeed in the industry, even if one is not fluent in Korean or has no interest in learning. If you appreciates British Pop Rock, you will still appreciate the hell out of a band that can encapsulate the genre in a foreign language, in a mini-album. That is why CrypticRock give Void 5 out of 5 stars.