HYUKOH ’23’ Album Review

“We would like for HYUKOH’s music to be on your playlist as your favorites and not just under K-Pop and be part of your every day listening.”

Finals are over and I have finally listened to indie band HYUKOH’s latest album. In an interview (linked below), the band explains that a rock album wasn’t necessarily what they set out to create but that’s what they ended up with. An excellent indie rock album is exactly what HYUKOH gave us. Here are my thoughts on 23!

Burning youth

I love this short opening track. The first part of the song feels a little like climbing that first hill on a roller coaster. It all builds up to a pause that lasts a beat too long, and then you’re dropped into riveting instrumentals matched by Oh Hyuk’s vocals. It’s a song that leaves you excited for what’s ahead.

Tokyo Inn

This is hands-down my favorite track on the entire album. My dream is to see this performed live. This type of song is just meant to be rocked out to at an outdoor concert. It is IMPOSSIBLE to listen to this song without wanting to dance.

Leather Jacket continues in the same vein as ‘Tokyo Inn’. Check out the lyrics here. The mood of this song is depicted perfectly in the music video:

TOMBOY is a standout track on ’23’ for many reasons (lyrics here). It’s my second favorite after ‘Tokyo Inn’. This is probably one of Oh Hyuk’s strongest vocal performances to date.

2002WorldCup

Fast-paced with an addictive chorus, the last 38 seconds of this song is one of my favorite moments on the album. If you’re curious about the title and know nothing about soccer (like me), I highly recommend Googling ‘2002 World Cup’.

The moods shifts as we ease into Jesus lived in a motel room with haunting vocals from Oh Hyuk. One of the lengthier songs on the album, ‘Jesus lived in a motel room’ has a distinct narrative feel.

Wanli is simply epic, perfect for a film soundtrack. The visuals in the music video capture this (watch below). This track makes the album tri-lingual thus far with lyrics in English, Chinese, and Korean.

 Die alone is a slow introspective anthem that provides a nice wind-down after ‘Wanli’.

Reserved seat 

Parts of this track have a similar vibe to ‘Boy With a Coin’ (another indie-alternative song I enjoy). I love the way this song weaves back and forth, starting with the instrumentals accompanied by soft vocals and then exploding into loud guitar riffs. This is my third favorite song on the album.

Simon has a nice, slow melancholy groove to it.

Paul is made up of just Oh Hyuk’s vocals and the piano. It has a somber, ethereal character to it that makes it stand out from the rest of the songs.

“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” – 23 is closed out with this advice from HYUKOH on Surf boy.

The flow of this album is perfect. The entire album could be performed as a concert set list as-is. They are already giants in the Korean music scene and I know that HYUKOH will be able to achieve their dream of performing in front of audiences internationally soon enough.

Live performances of ‘Leather Jacket’ and ‘Paul’ on M Countdown:

2 thoughts on “HYUKOH ’23’ Album Review

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