Thursday Tunes, November 10, 2022 – NINE.i, HIGHLIGHT, Def., Kim Jonghyeon

Enjoy these latest tracks from some experienced vets and a group who is my choice for rookie of the year! Featuring NINE.i, HIGHLIGHT, Def. and Kim Jonghyeon (JR).

“Young Boy” by NINE.i

NINE’s debut track “Parallel Universe” was my 13th favorite song of the year so far back in July. With the dreamy pop track, I commented: “It’s a different route for a rookie group to take in terms of style and sound. But in doing so, NINE.i has definitely set themselves apart from the rest. Might be my favorite debut title track of the year so far.”

And now in November, that is definitely still the case. That’s why I’ve been eagerly anticipating NINE.i’s first comeback. It was a bit of a long wait, but boy was it worth it. Their follow-up album I (Part.1) is a collection of six tracks that pick up right where their debut album left off. And just like that debut album, NINE.i continues to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. When most of K-pop turns to thumping pop-dance tracks and hip-hop performances, NINE.i settles into a softer overall sound. Each of the six tracks embody a sort of youthful hope. There’s a dreamy, free-flowing vibe through the album that you don’t normally hear in K-pop.

Intro “I live as _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _” sets the tone as the group sings of the journey ahead of them.

Synth-infused title track “Young Boy” includes elements of pop-punk and rock and the group’s effortless performance perfectly encapsulates that youthful and hopeful energy. A great follow-up track to their debut.

B-side “Paradise” is another mood maker with its rhythmic harmony offering the perfect match for the lyrics expressing reaching for one’s dreams. The other three songs are unit tracks from the ten members. Pop track “Love,” rock turn “Loner” and Latin-infused “I AM” follow suit with excellent showcases for the group’s versatility and diverse charms among the members.

“Parallel Universe” was already my favorite debut track from a rookie this year. But this album has basically solidified NINE.i as my favorite rookies of the year.

Check out NINE.i and their 2nd mini-album [I (Part.1)] on Amazon Music:

“Alone” by HIGHLIGHT

Always great to have HIGHLIGHT back with fresh music. And “Alone” is definitely a refreshing sound from the group. The funky “Alone” is a great, groovy vibe and different from their recent releases. It’s a bit of a more mature vibe from them and of course they have no problem bringing the retro-infused track to life. The rest of the album After Sunset features a mix of both mellow and dance R&B tracks. Another strong album from the experienced and talented vets.

Check out HIGHLIGHT and “After Sunset” on Amazon Music:

“my abandoned love” by Def.

I’ve mentioned how my favorite Lim Jaebeom music are his releases as Def. I just love the more soulful sound and vibe ever since he first started posting music as Def./Defsoul on Soundcloud. He recently released a new album under Def. entitled abandoned love. with the similarly named title track. The mellow collection of songs is best experienced listening straight through, in order, as Def. tells a story through each of the six tracks. The soulful R&B tracks are irresistible and very much repeat-worthy.

Check out Def. and “abandoned love.” on Amazon Music:

“Lights” by Kim Jonghyeon (JR)

Kim Jonghyeon, formerly JR of NU’EST, makes his solo debut with the album Meridiem and its title track “Lights.” Anyone who has followed NU’EST would agree that the bright hip-hop track perfectly suits Jonghyeon. And it’s a great track to signal the official start of his solo activities. The album includes the aptly titled “Blaze,” introspective “Creator” and mellow ballads “to.()” and “decalcomania” featuring MRCH. A great debut for an artist who finally gets a chance in the solo spotlight.

Check out Kim Jonghyeon and “Meridiem” on Amazon Music:

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