One of the exciting K-pop duo TVXQ, Yunho has released his second solo album, Noir. The TVXQ member’s second mini album, the six-track Noir follows 2019’s True Colors. Noir is a concept album based around revealing the full range of a man’s emotions as if through a movie, and draws on film noir for inspiration. Each track gets its own mini film, and there’s a longer music video for the single Thank U.
Launching the EP online, Yunho said Thank U was a pop song that “really reflects who I am and where I am headed”. The music video is said to be a short action noir film, and a teaser video for it hints at a dark, crime-filled plot.
“In a way, it’s just a man telling his story from youth to the person that he is today,” the 35-year-old star said. “I wanted to make this storytelling process unique and different from what I’ve tried before. I also watched a lot of movies of all genres and was inspired by what I saw. I thought it’d be really fun to create a cinematic music piece.”
The music video for Thank U has a 17-plus age rating, but Yunho revealed there would be an alternative version that is “friendlier”, and appropriate for all ages. Along with Yunho, the music video features South Korean actors Hwang Jung-min and Lee Jung-hyun.
In the past, Yunho has acted in several K-dramas and films, and is known in the industry for his impassioned performances as well as his dedication to his craft, which he also briefly discussed.
“Everyone is different and has their own style, but for me, I set a goal and really believe in it,” he said when asked for his advice to younger stars. “It’s only natural to worry about your path, but with time it becomes easier, and as long as you really believe in yourself, there will always be great opportunities waiting for you.”
At the launch, Yunho spoke about the album with fellow TVXQ member Changmin (also known as Max). The pair discussed the album’s tracks and the inspiration for each of the short films.
Yunho said he believed his second Korean solo album includes “a wider range of emotions and I think fans can empathise more with this album” than his first effort. It “is more grounded with more certainty”, he added.
Yunho broke down Noir track by track and revealed what fans could expect from the album – his attempt to grow and evolve as an artist. Overall, it stays primarily in the pop genre, he said.
The first track, Time Machine, which leads into Thank U, is described as a futuristic “hyper-pop” song with a plot fittingly inspired by sci-fi adventures.
Then follows Eeny Meeny – which will get its own video release after the arrival of Noir – while the fourth song, Loco (House Party), leans into the popular disco house trend that dominated K-pop in 2020.
The fifth track, Need You Right Now, adopts synth-pop influences and features an animation-enhanced video, while the final track, La Rosa, features actress Shin Ye-eun on both the Latin-pop-inspired smooth tune and in a melodramatic music video. Yunho revealed the track originally had more of a reggae vibe, but he wanted to go in more of a pop direction, so they reworked La Rosa to get it where it currently is.
“It’d be great if the album does well, but most importantly I want people to recognise that I tried something new through this album and really put myself out there to experiment and deliver a great piece of work as an artist,” said Yunho.
“I aspire to be an artist who is always learning, developing and bringing something new and unique to the audience for a long time.”