Anyone familiar with K-pop will definitely be familiar with the idea of having a “bias”. Essentially your “bias” is your favorite member(s) of a group. It can be hard to have just one favorite in a group you might be a huge fan of. Especially when there are “bias wreckers” who are so irresistible that they actually have you start wavering from your true favorite.
I’ve decided to have a sort of sub-project to lay out my Bias List all in one place. And what better place to start than to introduce my “Ultimate Bias”. Or in my case, Biases. An “Ultimate Bias,” of course, is your favorite among favorites. Someone (or some people) you would choose over everyone else.
And it’s definitely a perfect time to introduce one of my Ultimate Biases as he unexpectedly released a pair of fresh new songs this past week.
Meet Lim Hyunsik!
Lim (or Im) Hyunsik (임현식) is the lead vocalist of Cube Entertainment’s BTOB. Born on March 7, 1992, he is currently serving his mandatory military service.
I’m not too sure, but it might have been during BTOB’s “Thriller” era that I decided on Hyunsik being my BTOB bias. Usually when choosing my biases, I gravitate toward amazing vocalists, English-speakers or the most hilarious members of the group.
At the time, Hyunsik would have fallen into the amazing vocalist category. And during interviews and the like, I gravitated toward his almost tsundere personality. He may look serious and mysterious, but in actuality has a bright personality.
(And yes, I must admit, I considered Hyunsik #fitnessgoals during the “Thriller” era.)
Over the years, Hyunsik would get more and more opportunities to show off his excellent vocals. And that’s definitely not easy to do in a group with other incredibly talented members.
But Hyunsik didn’t rise to the level of Ultimate Bias until 2017. That year, BTOB began a special project in which members would release solo songs that reflected their own personal flavors.
Hyunsik was the fourth member up with his single “Swimming.”
“Swimming,” Lim Hyunsik
And I was absolutely floored.
Definitely nothing like BOTB’s releases, “Swimming” is a stunning alternative rock song that blends its dreamlike, romantic atmosphere with Hyunsik’s powerful and impassioned vocals.
I was in awe. Even knowing Hyunsik had written, composed and produced some of BTOB’s tracks over the years, I never would have expected a track like “Swimming” to be representative of his solo sound.
Needless to say, “Swimming” is what solidified it for me. And starting from that moment in 2017 when I first listened to it, I was hoping and waiting for the day Hyunsik would be able to release his own album.
That wonderful day would come on October 14, 2019 when Hyunsik released “Rendez-vous,” his first EP.
The six-track album is an ethereal adventure through space. The creative theme provides the perfect backdrop for each of the tracks which are actually quite distinct in sound from one another. And refreshingly so. From the dreamlike opening “Rendez-vous” to the roaring rock track “Black” in the middle of the album and culminating with the title track “Dear Love,” each song is just as affecting on its own as they all are together as a cohesive group.
“Dear Love,” Lim Hyunsik – Inkigayo Live 10/20/19
The album is such a showcase for Hyunsik’s vocal and creative talent. The poetic lyrics are meshed with harmonious melodies and brought to life by Hyunsik’s stirring vocals.
Hyunsik enlisted in the military in May for his mandatory service. But last week, he treated fans with a two-song digital single “In Your Heart.”
“In Your Heart,” Lim Hyunsik
“If I Hug You,” Lim Hyunsik
The two tracks beautifully express love and longing in a similarly ethereal way as a few of his previous songs. And they are once again a perfect showcase of his voice and the deep, heartfelt emotions he conveys in his music.
Aside from Im Hyunsik being simply a “bias” of mine just because I like him and enjoy his music, he’s one of my Ultimate Biases because I truly look up to him as an artist and a person. I honestly can’t say that about many musical artists or public figures. But I can confidently say that about Hyunsik.
Sometimes it’s hard to put into words why you like someone or be specific with why you might connect with a person or idea. I feel like that’s me with Hyunsik. I connect to his creative mind and works. His music speaks to me and is somehow relatable for me even when his songs can have that dreamlike aura to them.
Seeing his hard work and his passion for this music has really been an inspiration to watch over the years. And it has definitely motivated me in my daily life as well.
Needless to say I’m wishing Hyunsik well in the military and looking forward to seeing one of my Ultimate Biases back to making great music.
One of my newest prized possessions is this autographed LP of Hyunsik’s “Rendez-Vous” album:
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I definitely don't spend a lot of money on extra stuff. But I did not hesitate to buy Im Hyunsik's special "Rendez-Vous" LP. I listen to a lot of K-pop, but there's only a few artists I truly admire and look up to. And he is definitely one of them. Such an incredibly talented guy, yet humble and down to earth. (#howtobehim?! 🙌) I love his music. And this is an excellent album. 👏 Now, to get a record player though. 😅 I wonder if Auntie Ebie's big record player still works. (It's in Ballesteros now.) @imhyunsik @cube_official_btob #임현식 #LIMHYUNSIK #IMHYUNSIK #fanboy #idol #BTOB #LP #vinyl
I love it!