There is a certain handmade quality at the heart of "I'M NAMHYUNJOON," the new single released Monday by former Young Turks Club member Poppin' Hyun Joon (aka Nam Hyun Joon), that makes it easy to forgive the song's shortcomings.
Though at first listen, the natural reaction might be "what exactly is going on here?" Hyun Joon's vocals have the irreverence classic dance tracks are made of, from UK icons like Happy Mondays lead singer Shaun Ryder or Morrissey to Jim Morrison. The way it sounds like the South Korean breakdancing icon is belting out his vocals at two in the morning in an attempt to crack up a couple of friends is the song's best quality.
Musically, the situation is much more advanced, with Hyun Joon mixing the electro-futuristic sounds of "Discovery"-era Daft Punk with a classic '80s beat that is equal parts Depeche Mode and Right Said Fred.
There are no shortage of new acts on the scene channeling the '90s K-pop explosion and the groups like Boyz II Men and New Edition that influenced it, but few have the guts to go all the way with this sound that has been mostly left for dead in American pop music. The throwback sound of "I'M NAMHYUNJOON" is even more daring considering that on his first release in six years, Hyun Joon is, in a way, referencing his earlier work and not abiding to the pop star mantra of constant reinvention.
But, as he makes clear in the lo-fi music video for this hard-hitting new single featuring handheld video camera footage of Hyun Joon and his friends doing mock dance routines in some of the gnarlier parts of Seoul, the former Young Turks Club member doesn't care that much about playing by the rules.
Watch the music video for the new single "I'M NAMHYUNJOON" from legendary dancer Poppin' Hyun Joon of seminal '90s K-pop act Young Turks Club RIGHT HERE