Kim Jong-kook – Journey Home
Text: Lee Wei Lin
In the minds of many, Kim Jong-kook may be more of a variety show staple (Korean variety show Running Man would never be the same without the resident ‘Sparta Kooks’) but the entertainer has his roots deeply entrenched in the music industry. Having debuted in 1995 as part of successful duo Turbo, he started solo activities shortly after the band disbanded in mid-2001.
Having taken a hiatus from music-making, some wondered if he would make his return at all. Coming back with his seventh full-length album, Jong-kook puts those worries to rest with a stellar ten-track offering, showing that he has been honing his skills for his big comeback.
From soulful ballads such as ‘You Should Be Happy’ and ‘Men Are All Like That’ to the light-hearted ‘Words I Want to Say to You’ and ‘Thousands of Footprints’, Jong-kook proves that he is very much in the game. Worth a mention is that he includes Running Man buddies HaHa and Gary on ‘Words I Want to Say to You’, and the result is an eclectic mix of styles that simultaneously clash and meld perfectly.
Though the faster-paced tracks provide a variety to listeners, it is the ballads that pack a punch. Jong-kook’s smooth vocals are, without a doubt, made for ballads.
Recommended tracks: ‘Men Are All Like That’, ‘You Should Be Happy’