Welcome to another K-pop Indie Gem, where we feature Korean music talents who exist outside the mainstream idol scene. This week, we cover the relatively popular Yellow Monsters, a rock group that tends toward high-energy, pop-punk rock music. Since becoming active in 2010, this trio — Yongwon, Jinyoung, and Jaehyuk — has been a mainstay in the Korean punk music arena. With their recent September comeback, the group has returned with a full-length album, Red Flag.
My first exposure to Yellow Monsters came through the song “아무것도 아닌것을” from Yellow Monsters Vol. 1, their second album. The song has a strong bass and drum line that competes pretty heavily with the vocals. This is a pretty consistent trend in Yellow Monsters’s music: simple melodies, strong instrumentals. While this song isn’t exactly punk, like most punk music, there is a clear sense of simplicity in the musical composition. The same loop is played over and over with little variation, and the chorus is really the central focus of the song. In a way, it evokes the qualities of pop music—simple and addictive composition—under the umbrella of rock music and rebellion.
Yellow Monster’s most iconic song would be “Riot!”; this is what SXSW chose to feature, and it’s proven to be somewhat of an anthem for them. The song serves as a great preview of the album Riot!, and it demonstrates the musical roots of Yellow Monsters. I’d say that “Riot!” is basic punk rock at its best—raw and vibrant.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR32_pbxd4g]
Not only is “Ice Cream Love” a fantastic song to listen to, it carries a hilarious name, by international standards of course. On another level, the image of Yellow Monsters isn’t exactly conducive to having a song entitled “Ice Cream Love,” but hey, they make it work.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvi126Pa2Ko]
The best quality to Yellow Monsters is that they don’t anchor themselves to any specific rock formula. Here’s a song that breaks somewhat the traditional punk sound of the group; it also showcases a tiny bit of their style of live performance.
Their most recent album is as fluid and natural as their previous albums. Tightly produced and with a great track list, the album has many gems, but my favourite is “Alibi.” I’m unable to put a finger on the exact aspect of the song that I love, but I’ll attribute it to the entire listening experience. Yellow Monsters knows exactly what they are as a music group and they deliver on that every single time. It’s not surprising that this self-confidence in their music has given them a large following.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this week’s music selection! New fan or old fan, let us know your favorite songs/thoughts in the comments!