Jun. K, a member of 2PM, released his first Korean solo album titled, Mr. No ♡. When I saw the video for the title track, “Think About You”, my first thought was, “Wait…this is Jun. K?” While watching the video, in my opinion, Jun. K shows confidence and personality that is completely different from his other releases. While this is Jun K.’s first Korean solo album, he has released two Japanese solo albums along with his activities with the group 2PM since his 2008 debut. None of them have the level of style and confidence “Think About You” has. And no, Jun. K. being shirtless has nothing to do with it.
So, What’s the Difference?
At first, I was going to say the difference is because Jun. K composed and actively participated in the album’s creation. However, it’s not the first time he’s done that. Jun. K. composes almost all of his songs. With Love & Hate, Jun. K even had a hand in creating the video concept along with the development of the stage performances. That’s not it.
The topic of the songs have not changed either. They are ballads, with a darker tone to them. The pain that can go along with loving someone. Jun. K is experienced with expressing those emotions through music and it is topic that most can or will be able to (in the future) relate to. So what is the difference?
All Grown Up
With the video for “Think About You”, Jun. K addresses the topic of pain once a relationship ends as a man, an adult, without the little cutesy scenes. I could never take his videos seriously before because of the almost childish scenes thrown in randomly in the middle of a serious song. For example, with Love Letter:
Girl, do you remember?
My last love letter?
The hot love letter that got us through the winter?
Hey baby girl, I miss you here with me.
I have a good feeling about this winter.
You still got my love letter.
I’m waiting for you there.
Looking at the video, it’s like they attempted to make a mature topic kid friendly. You can view the videos for “Love & Hate” and “Love Letter” above for yourself and see if you have the urge to smirk while watching it. When I watched the videos, I enjoyed the high quality of the production for the videos but I felt as though there was a conflict in how to deal with the topic of the song. This could be due to the difference in cultures. I normally do not listen to female K-Pop groups because they tend to slide too far in the cutesy realm for me. One exception is group f(x) and Amber, from f(x), is one of my favorite idols and she has earned my respect as an artist while being absolutely adorable. For Jun. K, the random cuteness in his videos overshadowed my ability to take him seriously due to the topics in the songs. Until Think About You.
Do Something Different = Win!
While I was writing this, the music video for “Young Forever” was released and I love it! Just like “Think About You”, Jun. K dared to be different and the video matches the theme of the song perfectly. The confidence, style and personality shown in the latest videos, in my opinion, are closer to Jun. K’s own style. I realize Korean culture embraces “cuteness” but it clashes with R&B.
Let me be blunt: if an artist is going to appropriate music from different cultures, do it right or leave it alone. Jun. K nailed it and my respect for JYP went through the roof to allow him to spread his wings and fly. Jun. K wanted to show his personality in his music. Some of his older songs have an R&B soul feel to them and you can see glimpses of him embracing the culture but unfortunately, (for me), the performances usually slid into cute/immature realms. This time, thank goodness, a decision was made not to do that:
“I also able to release an album after learning a lot from producer Park Jin Young. Apart from trendy music, I showed my real feelings through the album. Around May and June of this year, I showed Park Jin Young my title track and he liked it the most. But I got a review as “too unfamiliar” during the monitoring stage. But I want to show my personality through this music. That′s why I sent an email to all the company staff saying I wanted to challenge myself as a musician.”
I hope Jun. K does exceptionally well with this release and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.