If there’s an album that is created with the influence and theme of various film genres…you bet I’ll be 100% interested in it.
TVXQ’s U-KNOW (Yunho) released his second mini album, NOIR. During his album press conference, on January 18th, he said, “While my previous album focused on colors, this album focuses on showing a man’s life cinematically in black. I participated in production and as Changmin said, I have put my soul into this album.”
Out of all the comebacks in January, this was the one I was looking forward to the most.
Now that his album is fully released I’ve listened to the songs multiple times. It’s safe to say this album definitely lived up to my expectations. So now, let’s dive into each track.
The first track on his mini album is “Time Machine”. This song would be classified under the sci-fi film genre. According to TVXQ’s official twitter account, they describe the song as hyperpop – which is also considered experimental pop.
“Time Machine” bridges his first mini album True Colors to NOIR. There are similarities to his song “Follow” and I enjoy how it segues the previous album into this one.
The title track of the album, “Thank U”, has some of my favorite lyrics. In this song U-Know uses past experiences and turns them into life lessons.
Here are the lyrics from the second verse:
“Finally, the third lesson don’t fuss over small things.
You have to become stronger so that you can laugh it off.
Look around the world (I hate this).
It’s filled up and overflowing darkness and light (I hate this) they co-exist.
That’s how this world is and how it works.
Stand tall and still, don’t lose your balance.“
I also like the word play in the chorus, “Thank you for diss”. I’m not sure if it was intentional but the word diss could be the slang version for the word ‘this’ or the word diss (which means insult). I think the latter ties in with the rest of the chorus – especially if you put each word from the first three lines together – diss – like – me.
“Thank you for diss.
Thank you for like.
Thank you for me.
Thank you for dislike me.“
The music video in itself is the crown and glory of U-Know’s album. The production and scale of this video is enough to be award-show worthy. The video features actors Hwang Jung Min and Lee Jung Hyun. This music video definitely has the film noir elements: cynical characters, stark lighting effects, the overall mood, and cinematic style.
U-Know’s music video for “Thank U”, is so far one of my top favorite videos of 2021. I’ve watched it multiple times already and I think it is a masterpiece.
In the physical album, “Eeny Meeny” is the third track. However it was released digitally (as a single) on January 25th. “Eeny Meeny” is about a man pursuing a woman who is picky when it comes to love. It’s a groovy dance song and it’s a great prequel (or sequel) to the next song on the album “Loco (House Party)”.
“Eeny Meeny” could be classified under the rom-com genre. The music video for the song features Red Velvet’s Seulgi. Seulgi held a poker face while U-Know tried to get her attention throughout the video. Both U-Know and Seulgi did a fantastic job in portraying these characters – as well as performing the fun choreography too.
“Loco (House Party)” is bright and fun. This song (and video) is under the comedy film genre. The song itself is upbeat and it has some disco elements in it. The song is all about letting go and having some fun. The music video shows U-Know and other office workers going down an escalator until he spills his drink and the escalator suddenly lights up and the song “Loco (House Party)” plays. I think it’s a fun storyline and it’s a fun video to watch. The video matches the whole mood of the song perfectly and I love it.
If anyone is having a stressful day, this is a great song to play.
“Need You Right Now” is the next song on the mini album. It was the first song from NOIR that was revealed on January 8th. I loved this song from the first time I heard it and to this day it is still my favorite song.
According to TVXQ’s twitter they described the song, “To convey the message of ‘Carpe Diem’ by expressing the determination ‘to love to the fullest right now’ through sincere lyrics like a monodrama.” Indeed the lyrics are about wanting to be present in the moment with the person you love.
To be honest, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve played this track. It’s a gem.
The next song would be under the romance film genre. “La Rosa (불면; 不眠)” (which the title is also translated to insomnia). This song is about wanting to go back to your lover even if you know you’ll get hurt again. It’s a bittersweet song – missing someone no matter how many times you’ve been hurt.
This song features actress Shin Yeeun, who has a beautiful voice. I enjoyed hearing the dynamics of U-Know and Shin Yeeun’s vocals, it gives the song more depth, and emphasizes the message of the song.
U-Know did a great job in portraying various emotions and concerns through each song. From life lessons, to living in the present moment, to falling in love despite being hurt – everyone can connect to a song on this album.
Each track has its own sound and it fits perfectly in a certain film genre. Overall the concept for NOIR was delivered flawlessly through and through. The quality and execution of this comeback is impeccable.
Well done U-Know, his team, and everyone involved in this mini album. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I’m sure this album will stick with me throughout the rest of the year (along with the videos).
You can listen to U-Know’s 2nd Mini Album NOIR on multiple streaming platforms:: https://smarturl.it/UKNOW_NOIR
I talk more about KPOP on my channel YouTube.com/elimariereacts
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I do not own any of the pictures of U-Know (they are from SM).