Young K debuted as a soloist right before he enlisted in 2021 and we’ve been patiently waiting for his return. Now he is finally back with nothing less than a full-length solo album! He remains one of our favorite lyricists and musicians in K-Pop and Letter with notes is everything we love, and we’ve been waiting for from Young K!
No one can write heartbreaking songs quite like Young K and ‘nothing but’ the perfect example of his genius. The way he describes the inevitable end of a relationship mixed with the heartwrenching need to keep holding on is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The lyric “I have nothing but this love that’s vanishing” sums it up pretty well. And of course, these lyrics are accompanied by a melody full of emotion yet addictive that makes you want to replay the song over and over. Young K’s voice has such power in the way it carries every single emotion and helplessness. ‘nothing but’ is simply a masterpiece.
And do not even get us started on the music video. This might be one of the most beautiful music videos we’ve seen – and we’re not only saying that because Dahyung from Twice is in it, that’s just an incredible bonus. It portrays the feeling of holding to love through Young K helplessly looking for Dahyun’s ring, a perfect and heartbreaking metaphor. The aesthetic, the message, the cinematography… Everything is simply incredible. We could not possibly love more ‘nothing but.’
Letters with notes
Letter with notes is a masterpiece from start to finish – we didn’t expect any less from Young K. It takes us through highs and lows, and every single song feels incredibly special and unique. The album opens with ‘Waited,’ a song that feels similar to the energy we had in Eternal. It’s the perfect transition from his debut to this comeback with a truly immaculate pop-rock sound. But the storytelling has to be our favorite thing about this one, it’s full of nostalgia and bittersweet feelings. Everything we love about a good Young K song.
‘Let It Be Summer’ was released as a pre-release single and it’s a whole other side to Young K than the one in ‘nothing but.’ It represents the more bright and joyful side of Young K’s music. Because no, he doesn’t only break our hearts. ‘Let It Be Summer’ is such a summer rock anthem, very reminiscent of pop punk and we absolutely love it. Happiness does look good on Young K. ‘Dreamer’ keeps up with that more pop-rock energy: it feels carefree, joyful, and full of hope. This song is all about looking at the bright side of things even when everything comes crumbling down – a true booster.
‘Bungee Jumping’ is one of the songs that Young K performed prior to the release of Letters with notes. And we’ve been in love with it since day one. It’s dreamy and uplifting and uses bungee jumping as a metaphor for falling helplessly in love with someone. Young K has always had a way of making very comforting and loving songs – ‘Natural’ and ‘Strange’ are exactly that. ‘Natural’ is a beautiful and supportive love song while ‘Strange’ is an upbeat fun song about embracing yourself as you are.
If we had to pick our favorite b-side (and it’s hard because all these songs are absolute masterpieces), it would have to go to ‘SOUL.’ Young K’s voice fits the soul-inspired melody incredibly well. It’s also something new to his discography and DAY6’s discography. ‘SOUL’ is all about losing oneself in the routine and feeling completely lost. CHOILD’s rap verse really compliments the song perfectly. ‘SOUL’ is heartbreaking yet comforting and so relatable. Everyone deserves to have this song in their life.
Letters with notes move onto the most fun and playful songs of the album with ‘Playground’ and ‘babo.’ ‘Playground’ is full of confidence and groove. It’s almost reminiscent of the b-sides of DAY6‘s DAYDREAM. And it’s yet another instance of Young K’s genius lyricism as he compares the ups and downs of life to playing in a playground as a kid. With a strong and addictive bass line, ‘babo’ is such a fun groovy love song about being stupid in love.
However, Young K closes off Letters with notes with one of his most heartbreaking songs to date: ‘what is…’ Similarly to ‘nothing but,’ this closing song is all about hanging on to a love that is dying. There are no words to describe just how truly sad this song is but the lyrics “if what we had isn’t, what is love?” sum it up. Young K writes some of the best songs in the industry, and this one is the perfect example of it.
Even 8 years after DAY6‘s debut, Young K continues to blow us away with his versatility in vocals, melodies, and his mindblowing songwriting. No one quite compares to him. Letters with notes is composed of nothing but the masterpiece that we’ve been waiting for years. And it was definitely worth the wait. This is hands down one of the best solo albums of the year. From love to heartbreak, going through comfort, no one writes songs that touch our hearts so much as Young K.
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