Roh Ji-hoon, soloist with Cube Entertainment, has come back with his second mini album titled Feeling. This time around, Roh wrote many of the lyrics and compositions for the album — four of the five tracks, in fact — himself, and there is a clear difference between these more R&B influenced songs and his first album of pop-electro songs.
As he’s the one composing this new music, the album shows a clear desire to move away from the basic K-pop tracks he was given as a debut artist. Of course, with such a shift toward R&B and soul influenced music, Roh needed to be able to show emotion through his songs and lyrics, so it’s only appropriate that this new album with music of a new style is titled Feeling.
The album starts off with a slow song titled “I Don’t Remember,” which feels like a sad love song off an OST. Roh sings of remembering the good relationship he had, focusing on the good and waiting for his love to come again. The feeling is very soul, with a jazzy background track. I love how this song slowly builds, with a smooth up and down wave between each verse and the choruses, and despite its bittersweet nature it is still upbeat.
The second song, “If You Were Me,” has even more pep, kicking up the album into groove status. It’s a cute, yet mature, song about falling in love, that I can’t help but bob my head to.
I’m a fan of any love song that states, “Do you know that the most special person to me is you?” This is the theme of the music video that accompanies this song as well. Boy meets girl, but girl happens to be blind, yet boy doesn’t care one bit and loves her wholeheartedly for her adorableness and her love of dogs. Filled with happiness and excitement for a new relationship, it’s such a refreshing love song. Roh sings this song in a register that feels very comfortable, not the high range of cutesy, exciting songs, but not too strong and manly either. The key he’s chosen, combined with the flow of each verse, climbing up to exciting trills and then settling comfortably back to the groovy melody, creates a song that feels both ordinary and special, one-of-a-kind and realistic — by far my favorite song on the album.
Next is “Sweet Girl,” bringing the groove back to classic R&B. It’s something of a proposal song — singing about his love for “my lady, my love, my sweet girl.” It’s a simple, quiet, positive song professing how strong his love’s heart is, how she’s the only one, and how their love will never fade. I’m not a huge fan of sappy songs like this one, but it’s well crafted in its simplicity, and the lyrics are positive and sweet. This shifts the mood slightly from an exciting new love to the strength and satisfaction of a love that will last.
Unfortunately, sometimes there is tragedy in love, and the next song, “September 7,” displays such a tragic love. It’s been speculated that this incredibly moving and tear-filled song is a tribute to his close friend RiSe of Ladies Code, who passed away on September 7, 2014, after the group’s tragic car accident last year. Roh and RiSe were contestants on Birth of a Great Star together in 2011 and were reportedly very close. Roh was even a pallbearer during RiSe’s funeral.
You, whom I can no longer see or touch again, I bring back up.
Although I pledge to erase you and erase you,
I am unable to easily cast you aside, that’s how we are,
But you, whom I can no longer see or touch again, I send away.
Those memories, that desire, I need to send you away now through those fading memories…
Bye, my love, the person I love,
Now I need to send you back to that place, that happy place.
Bye, my love, the person I love,
Now come back to me so that we could be happy.
These are the emotional words Roh has written for his friend, and this is the other side of love that is sometimes unavoidable. When we love so hard, sometimes we get hurt, through break-ups or through uncontrollable tragedies. As he says at the end of this song, “I don’t want you to lose your pretty smile, don’t want you to get hurt twice, don’t want you to shed tears again.” Sometimes I find it difficult to feel the emotion the lyrics are supposed to convey in K-pop songs, especially when I can’t understand the language, but Roh had no problem conveying his true sadness through his singing this song. It moved me to tears, and I can only imagine how much it meant for him to write and record it for RiSe.
Roh wraps up his album with a song about letting go and trying to move on. “A Song For You,” featuring Shorry J, is a bittersweet, mildly sarcastic, pop-y break up song that he originally released as a single on February 4 of last year. It brings the mood up a bit from the previous emotional track and feels most similar to the first track, giving us a nicely satisfying circular album.
That Roh manages to write songs that convey so many different feelings while all tying together the theme of different aspects of love is truly a testament to Roh’s song-writing skills, and throughout the album his strong voice sustains both the emotion and the smoothness of the album. These are the emotions that make up a human’s capacity to love — hence the album title of Feeling — and it is something unavoidable, yet not something to shy away from.