It is no secret to anyone who knows me that K-rock band The Rose has me completely and totally wrapped around their fingers. But hear me out as I finally get the time to talk about their second mini-album, “Dawn.” By the time I’m done here, maybe you’ll fall in love with them as well.
If you haven’t heard of The Rose by now, you’re not alone, so let me tell you a little bit about them. The Rose is a four-member band from J&Star Company. They all play instruments and sing very well, and their debut song, “Sorry,” left a huge impact on me from the moment I heard it. Lead singer, Sammy, has a unique voice that can be haunting at times. There are moments while you listen to them that make you feel like maybe The Rose invented harmonies in the first place. I had the absolute thrill of being lucky enough to see them live at Irving Plaza in New York earlier this year, and to this day that concert sits in my top five live music experiences of all time. Honestly, I could go on and on, but let’s continue before my fangirling reaches embarrassing levels.
— 더로즈_The Rose (@TheRose_0803) October 5, 2018
On Oct. 4, 2018 The Rose released “Dawn” and I fell in love all over again as I listened to it. Their previous mini-album, “Void,” was an excellent showcase of their skills and offered a great variety of sound, showing off what the band was made of with their original songs. “Dawn” came out and hit me in the face with another round of great songwriting, top-notch vocals and just enough melancholy to make my heart ache with a yearning for more.
I Don’t Know You
The album opens with “I Don’t Know You.” If I had to describe this song with one word, I would say it was gentle. The instrumentation is not overly complicated, and the lyrics talk about wanting to get to know someone and start a relationship. It has a sweet vibe and opens the album on a comfortable note. Dojoon‘s vocal part near the end really shines as he hits some higher notes that remind the listener (or teaches them for the first time) that his vocals are also a force to be reckoned with.
She’s In The Rain
“She’s In The Rain” is the second track on the album and also the title track. It has a much heavier feeling as Sammy (Korean name Woosung) sings about losing interest in everything. The pre-chorus of the song comes in on the line “I’m dying inside,” with the slight rasp that Sammy’s voice is known for, and from that moment on, the tone of the song takes over and you can feel the melancholy that I mentioned before just lingering in the music at every turn. Even though the song has a sad vibe, the instruments sound clean and pretty, and the vocals, as always, are the highlight of the moment. At the end of the song, there is a bit of a hopeful turn that lifts some of the weight away and leaves me smiling a little bit. This song had a video that featured the members originally but upon discovering that pictures from the late Jonghyun‘s Instagram were used in the background without their knowledge, the band and the company decided to remove that video and replace it with an artistic sand version instead.
Take Me Down
“Take Me Down” is the next song on the album, and this one gives me chills every single time I listen to it. When I saw the Rose last May, this track was still unreleased and fans got to hear them perform it for the first time on tour. The song opens with a crooning sing-along style line. I remember being surrounded by Black Roses (the name of the fandom) on all sides as Sammy taught us the melody so that we could all sing along. I get an overwhelming rush of nostalgia every time I hear the opening notes of this song that make it extremely touching for me to listen to. The song itself has some really nice instrumentation by the band, (rounding out the group with Hajoon on drums and Jaehyeong on bass) and shows more of their seemingly perfect synchronization as a unit. I can assure you that it sounded just as clean live as it does on the album, which is not something easy for a live band to achieve.
“Insomnia,” or “불면증,” is the last new song on the album, and it is another slow but pretty song. The first thing I can say is that this song is relatable. The lyrics talk about the memory or thought of someone keeping you awake after parting ways. I think a lot of people understand that feeling all too well. I could wax poetic about the talent that the vocalists have in this group for centuries, but I was very pleased to be able to clearly pick up on Hajoon and Jaehyeong in the background vocals as well. In fact, the simple harmonies in the vocals are one of my favorite parts of “Insomnia”. I love listening for them when I play this track. The acoustic guitar in the beginning is also one of my favorite things about this song. “Insomnia” has become the track on the album that I find myself hearing new things every time I play it, so I listen to it a lot to see if I can pick out anything different.
Overall, I think “Dawn” is a great release and does a fantastic job once again demonstrating The Rose’s sound and skills as musicians. If anything, I would have liked to hear a faster or more up-tempo song on this album, similar to “Baby”‘ or “‘Candy (So Good)” from “Void.” However, I was definitely not disappointed in this album at all. I am so proud of how far The Rose has come from their debut until now. I cannot encourage you enough to give them a listen and get to know them!