Try as you might, there is no specific, unproblematic way of describing the music of Korean Boyfriend. This hodgepodge of genre-defying sounds is quite apparent in the singer-songwriter’s brand new full-length titled YELLOW. Also an accomplished producer, Stanley Cho, the man behind this ambitious project, has crafted an impressive record of analog synths, distortion, electronics, and radio-friendly melodies that sounds very current but unlike anything else to which you’re listening.
Considering his upbringing, it’s not all that outrageous for Cho to have conjured up such a unique record. Growing up in North Hollywood, the son of parents who owned a local photo lab, Cho combined his interest in hardcore, punk, metal, hip-hop, obscure, underground films, television, and Nintendo to help create his highly dynamic musical identity.
Describing the record in his own words, Cho says:
“Here are twelve songs of singing, synths, electric guitars, and beats mixed with critiques around pop culture. YELLOW is meant to be very enjoyable, but should provide some food for thought on the human condition after repeated listening. The arrangements and production play around a lot with melodies, as to when they kick in, and allow for performances to swing.”
Initially, Korean Boyfriend was an imitation K-Pop band before Cho realized that that may be a flawed direction in which to head. Motivated by his interest in both the extraordinary and the ordinary, it didn’t take much more than looking around and experiencing his home of New York City to find things about which to write.
Along with its many different sounds, many of which reflect a nostalgia for times long gone and an interest in sounding unconventional, YELLOW covers a lot of thematic territory as well. Some of these themes include confronting the failure of the arts and culture industry, the economic and cultural privilege that the upper crust of society enjoys, and fear for what the future has in store. YELLOW has several meanings itself; one being a primary colour, another being its connection with optimism and caution, another, in the use of the term to describe someone as being afraid, and also its use as an ethnic slur towards Asian people.
A lot is going on on this record, and it will all leave you quite confident in what lies ahead for Korean Boyfriend.
YELLOW Track Listing:
1. Millions of Reasons
2. Fat Boy
3. Incompetent People
4. Greedy Happiness
6. 60 Minutes
7. Too Cool For School
9. Your Success
10. Now Ain’t The Time Oh Well
11. Beautiful Image
12. Present Future