K-POP / REVIEWS

[Review][Album] John Park – “Knock”

written by: McRoth

It’s been over a year since Superstar K2 runner up John Park last dropped a single (“I’m Your Man“), and I think John did good in waiting this long because what he released this week is absolutely beautiful.

Listening to John Park’s newest mini album, “Knock“, it feels like he has completely reinvented his style. John Park first rushed onto the scene as something of a Michael Bublé wannabe. Very harsh words to say about a talented guy like John, but that’s basically what he was going for in 2010. In all honesty, it wasn’t that believable of a style for him to sell, at least not the way he was doing it then. But fast forward to 2012, and he’s singing a very different tune.

What I find to be one of the greatest takeaways from “Knock” is how genuine it is. It’s the most personal I think John Park has ever been in his music. His 2010 single – the jazzy/blues “I’m Your Man” – felt slightly forced. It wasn’t necessarily a terrible fit for John Park the musician as it was less emotionally believable to me as a listener. It was cheesy, basically. The songs on “Knock” though blend all the correct elements that weren’t there before to make John Park’s talents shine and his personality come to life.

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In “Knock”, John Park proves that he has grown as a musician – composing the lyrics to the breathtaking lead single, “Falling” – and that he has found a common ground between the classic, jazzy influences he used to channel and the new-found indie-esque vibes that work really well keeping his music fresh.

In addition, “Knock” is exceptionally composed. “Falling” is a warm lead single that captures John Park’s resonant voice and goes on to deliver it in this beautiful casket of guitars, airy nuances, and dreamy vocal layering. It’s a very uplifting song that takes John’s message of falling in love and gives it a proper vehicle to ride every listener’s heartstrings. Then there’s “왜 그럴까“, which introduces the strong classical themes that you’ll find throughout the rest of this mini album. It’s centered around a piano lead and a thick orchestration that basically swallows you whole as John Park croons his way through a melodious ballad. It’s probably the most epic song instrumentally, as the rest of the songs aren’t as heavy handed on the swooping strings.

이게 아닌데“, the third song on the mini album, is the one time John goes back to his roots as a jazz singer. Here, he’s immersed in the story of the song, falling into every chord progression and pulling out all the power notes where they’re needed. It’s very John Mayerwhich is a style John Park likes to go for.

Good Day” is chill and has those indie flairs that fit John Park’s voice to a T. The instrumental is kept light while John swims in his lower register, a contrast that works really well with these kinds of rumble-y singers. And finally, “그 노래” closes the album with a soft ballad that begins in a silent piano chord progression that slowly welcomes the swells of a stringed orchestra. There’s even a moment of sheer brilliance where John’s almost singing in duet with a cello that damn near made me jizz myself. It’s simply gorgeous, and that goes for the entirety of this album.

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“Knock” leaves a very touching impression. It has the right amount of push and pull between the mid tempo songs and the ballads, allowing the album to flow really well on its own. And then there’s John Park, who has proven himself the intelligent musician, spending time to find himself as an individual and returning as a confident artist to deliver an impressive roster for a rookie. The orchestrations are to die for, and the overall delivery of “Knock” is fresh, graceful, and immensely gratifying.

I don’t think John could have done anything else to perfect the execution of this mini album. All that’s left is to hear these live, which I’m sure he’ll absolutely slay in his comeback stages. It just sucks that he timed this release right when Big Bang is making their ginormous return to K-pop. Hopefully somebody other than me will appreciate the excellence of John Park’s “Knock”, because it’s more than deserving.

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“Falling” MV
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via Asian Junkie

support the artist, buy the music: iTunes

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8 thoughts on “[Review][Album] John Park – “Knock”

  1. Awesome review McRoth…and my sentiments exactly. ^^ John really did things big here. And I think it’s a testament to how good this EP is that he’s going toe-to-toe with Big Bang on Korea’s real-time charts (and doing quite well)…not only with “Falling,” but the rest of the tracks as well.

    • Thanks, Ray-Ray!

      I’m glad to see people starting to notice John’s excellency, because he’s a true talent through and through. I thought it would be a rough climb to the top, but as you mentioned he’s doing pretty damn well for a noobie. I feel … proud?

      btw, great work over at in2kpop. A couple weeks ago, a reader of mine mentioned you in an email, telling me that you write music reviews as well and I checked you out. It’s always interesting to read other people’s opinions on kpop music – even moreso from those of us who review kpop music on the daily. Stay in touch! And maybe we can write a collab review or something fun some time.

      Whenever my friends and I restart up our Kpop Panel (http://thekpoppanel.blogspot.com/) it’d be fun to have you on as a guest judge :P

  2. No kidding, some readers of mine told me to come over and check you out! Glad I did. :) And I would def. be down to do some dishing on your Kpop Panel – sounds like fun!

    Keep writing, I’ll be reading!

  3. Pingback: Month In KPOP – February « McRoth's Residence

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