Rock N' Roll, Baby!

2013 had been an explorative year. I’ve literally consumed everything about Korean entertainment during that year. The best of all was my rediscovery of a television music variety program called “Immortal Songs 2: Singing the Legend”. Through this program, I was being able to know many great talented Korean singers and legendary everlasting Korean songs that have been unknown for international fans like me. No, I’m not going to write about that program now. Maybe next time. But now I would like to introduce you, Readers, to one of my biggest inventions in 2013 from “Immortal Songs 2” (IS2). He is a rookie rocker (wow, truly my type!) named Jung Joon Young.

Jung Joon Young in his debut mini album's showcase - source: TenAsia

My first encounter with Jung Joon Young was when I watched episode 112 of IS2. He happened to appear on that episode as a performer. He was (un)luckily picked to perform first with the song titled “Understanding Man and Woman”, a classic hits song by COOL (the legend appeared on that episode of IS2). Okay, I confess that at first I was attracted to his handsome face and his tall and slender appearance. But then, after he performed, I was falling just like that head over heels with his voice! With his pop rock witty performance, he won that first round against the hottest icon of IS2, Moon Myung Jin. At that time I was just like, “Who the hell is this hot guy?!”
Then I found out later that Jung Joon Young was the second runner up winner in the fourth season of a famous audition program broadcasted by the famous music television cable channel Mnet, called “Superstar K” (SSK4). Many stars have been born through this program, such as Seo In Guk, Huh Gak, John Park, Ulala Session, and many more. And the year 2012 had been the year of Jung Joon Young, even though he ended up at third place behind the runner up Dickpunks and the winner Roy Kim. But yeah, Jung Joon Young had successfully stolen the audiences’ attention with his amazing talent and unique personality.

Jung Joon Young profile picture for SSK4 - source:

Before SSK4, Jung Joon Young had experienced many years in indie music world, even produced singles since then. But SSK4 was his turning point which led him to be known and debut in major music industry. After SSK4, he made his way to stardom in 2013, and IS2 was his first appearance on the South Korea’s public television. He is the living proof that a combination of amazing talent and incredible hard work will lead someone to finally reach recognition and success. At the age of 24, Jung Joon Young finally got in the spotlight.
Up until this article is written, Jung Joon Young had only made total three appearances in IS2. First was on episode 109 when he showed a rock rendition of DJ DOC’s “Remember”. The second was on episode 112. And the third was on episode 125 when he performed Shin Seung Hun’s “Because I Love You” with rock ballad arrangement. Wait, is it all rock? Yes, just like I’ve mentioned above, Jung Joon Young is a rocker. Even when he was on SSK4, he arranged all the songs that he had to sing with rock arrangement. He showed his true colors since beginning. And he totally nailed it! To mention some amazing performances he’s done during SSK4 were Kim Kwang Seok’s “Becoming Dust” (a duet with Roy Kim) and Izi’s “Emergency Room”. Actually he did many covers for SSK4, but those two are personally my favorites.

Jung Joon Young with his virtual wife, actress Jung Yu Mi, in MBC variety program "We Got Married" - source: MBC

Before his official debut, Jung Joon Young have made several appearances on television program, including IS2. In order to obtain more recognition and to gain larger range of listeners to his music, he joined weekend television shows as a permanent cast member. First, he joined MBC “We Got Married” (WGM) season four since September 2013. Along with actress Jung Yu Mi, they act as virtual husband and wife in a fake marriage. Incredibly, since they joined the show, WGM’s rating was climbing up. Many people are shipping Jung Joon Young and Jung Yu Mi couple, who also known as PocaGuri couple. Instead of romance all the time, this couple shows what natural realistic relationship is like. Sometimes they’re bickering, yet they’re so sweet in some other times. Even their skinships are natural. And now they’ve become the most lovable couple of WGM.
Not long after his official debut, he joined KBS weekend variety program “2 Days & 1 Night” (2D1N) as it’s been restructured and kicked off its third season since December 2013. He became the youngest cast member for season three along with two former members from previous seasons; singer Kim Jong Min and actor Cha Tae Hyun, and three new members; actor Kim Joo Hyuk, comedian Kim Jun Ho, and hip-hop singer Defconn. Even since its pilot episode, 2D1N season 3 has gained popularity as it topped the rating chart for Sunday night programs. As his two main variety programs are obtaining success, Jung Joon Young is gaining recognition as an all-round entertainer. Hence, back to the basic, he is a rocker to the bone. And no matter how he likes appearing on variety shows, he can’t and he won’t leave his true nature; music.

Jung Joon Young with his fellow cast members of KBS variety program "2 Days 1 Night" season 3 - from left to right: Defconn, Kim Joo Hyuk, Cha Tae Hyun, Jung Joon Young, Kim Jun Ho, Kim Jong Min - source:
Among the enormous waves of dance pop songs in South Korea’s music industry nowadays, there is one man who strikes like a thunder with his rock n’ roll blood. He is Jung Joon Young. Being a rock vocalist in that tough and competitive music industry is not an easy thing to do. This was being acknowledged even by the legendary rocker in South Korea, Yim Jae Bum. Therefore it was fascinating enough to see the guts to bravely debut as a rocker in that industry. That is Jung Joon Young! About a year after SSK4, he finally made his official debut with his first mini album released on October 10, 2013. The thing that surprises me is that songs in this album are beyond my expectation. Well, let’s take a slight review on this “1st Mini Album” by Jung Joon Young.

1st Mini Album Review

"Spotless Mind" single cover by Jung Joon Young - source:

The first track of this mini album is titled “병이에요 (Spotless Mind)”. This song was released as the debut single on October 1, 2013, along with two versions of music videos, S version and N version. It was based on Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s 2004 movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. This song begins with intense piano beats blend with electric guitar sound. As Jung’s husky voice is heard, it brings this kind of mysterious feeling. As a prologue song, is a great choice because this song successfully brings out Jung’s color as a rocker. You definitely can’t call this kind of music as ballad or pop. It’s definitely a rock ballad with the dominate sound of electric guitar and the usage of piano. Thankfully it’s in medium tempo which makes it ear-catchy. It reminds me of Brit-rock sounds such as Coldplay’s and Oasis’. The second track is called “정말?”, which sometimes is translated as “Really?” or “Is It Real?”. Personally this song is my favorite in this album. It’s a traditional pop rock with a band sound blends beautifully with strings arrangement. You can hear the violin sound clearly in this song, which makes it solid; tough yet beautiful at the same time. It probably contains a typical sound that you usually can hear from the twentieth century band like The Script or Lifehouse. Hence, it also brings the feeling of late 90s band sounds like Oasis. It’s more upbeat than the previous track with a more cheerful melody, yet has a quite sad lyrics. No need to say more, I love this track! You can hear the song below.

The third track, which is also the title track of the mini album, is titled “이별 10 (The Sense of An Ending)”. It was released as a music video with actress Jung Yu Mi as the model. She is also known as Jung’s virtual wife on a variety show program “We Got Married”. At first I don’t know why this rock ballad song was chosen as the title song, because no matter how many times I hear it, it can’t make it to my first or second personal favorite. But then I understand that this song has the easiest easy-to-catch melody. It’s understandable enough because he has to compete in a music industry that gives more favor to super-easy-listening dance pop music. But no, it’s not Jung Joon Young if he gave up just like that. Even in this song, you can find a solo guitar part which is a trademark of rock. After bringing the mood to chill again with the title track, the fourth track will lead to a spaceship journey. It’s called “Be Stupid”. This song is an instant rock punk. It has this Japanese rock feeling in it, with its fast and upbeat tempo. At the same time, it also feels like Green Day and Blink 182. The thing that fascinating me is this song’s lyric which is so much like Jung Joon Young. It sounds free, tough, easy-going, and wild; just like him!

1st mini album cover by Jung Joon Young - source:

The fifth track will bring us back from the flight to land on Earth. It’s a rock ballad song titled “아는 ”, which is commonly translated as “Missed Call”. This song was on a rough battle with 정말?” in my mind to become the first favorite. But then this song came to be my second favorite because its sound brings a sadness feeling in my heart. Almost all the songs in this album have a broken heart theme, but this song has the saddest melody and lyrics. It combines band sound with orchestra sound perfectly. The sixth, and also the last, track in this album is called “Take Off Mask”. It’s also a slow rock ballad song, but with the guitar sound that dominates the melody. Once again, it brings the feeling of 90s rock sound which you can find from Deep Purple and Bon Jovi. This song calmly ends our journey in this album, as you can hear below.

Overall, Jung Joon Young’s “1st Mini Album” is a modern rock package that you rarely find from South Korea’s music industry. For a rock fan like me, hearing this album feels like a heavy rain after a long drought. Growing up abroad Korea made Jung the way he is today. It looks like he has grown up listening to 90s rock, which influences him so much in his musicality. As a person who also growing up listening to Guns N’ Roses, Queen, Nirvana, and many more, I feel like I’ve found a true idol that I can root for. Even Yoon Gun, a judge of SSK4, stated that, “There is a 90’s rock spirit inside you,” when he gave comment for Jung’s performance.

"Pretty Man OST Part 5" single album by Jung Joon Young - source:

This debut album is far from disappointing. And three months after it, Jung Joon Young released a self-composed song for KBS drama series “Pretty Man” (also known as “Bel Ami”) titled “하루만 (I’m Nobody)”. This rock ballad song was released as “Pretty Man OST Part 5” single on January 2, 2014. This song completes my satisfaction. It’s like screaming out Jung’s true spirit as a rocker and that he will continue to be in that way, no matter what people say. He continued marching with the release of “Always Reds”, a track on the Red Devils’ (South Korea’s national football team) official cheer album, “We Are The Reds” for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It’s a rock hip-hop song which was collaborated with the hip-hop trio, Soul Dive, and released on March 12, 2014. Through this song, he proves that he’s more than just a eccentric screwball weirdo, an image he always shows through variety program like WGM and 2D1N.

Jung Joon Young’s presence in South Korea’s music industry somehow brings me hope to hear more music like what it produced back in 80s and 90s. I would like to hear more music like Boohwal, Yim Jae Bum, Kim Jong Seo, Deulgukhwa, and Kim Hyun Sik again from Jung. I’m anticipating to see more of him in the future. Not only on variety scenes (which are showing his different sides; a funny, silly, cute, adorable, and lovable one), but also on music scenes. Hopefully many great pieces will continue this great debut. You have it on your way and keep it up, man! Rock n’ roll, baby! \m/


2 komentar

  1. Wow. blognya keren eonni.
    Setuju banget dengan statement penutup di tulisan ini. Joonyoung Oppa memang rocker yang charming, funny and lovable. Terimakasih untuk tulisannya Eonni, membakar semangat. Love Korean Rock :D