John OFA Rhee has finally released his first-ever studio album, bleeding in sunset blvd. on July 14th.
In addition to his two previous releases, bleeding in, and sunset blvd. – four new songs will be added to complete his first-ever 12-track physical release. After releasing sunset blvd. in June, Rhee spares no time in introducing the final page of his musical journal.
“It’s a song I wrote in high school,” Rhee states of the jazz standard like “SHOULD I”, a song that contains a slow groove throughout chords full of tensions and releases. He changed the song’s lyrics, tempo, and feel throughout the years and finally came to a finish in the summer of 2020. “Some people might remember it as a totally different song,” says Rhee, hinting to the listeners that the song they remember might come to them as an entirely new experience.
Rhee will also be releasing a video teamed up with “Xuck Film”, painting a story of a man through an introspective journey, finding his true identity. Just like Rhee’s production, the video is constructed fully of easter-egg-like details that might beg viewers hunting for more.
“BETTER THAN HE CAN”
“I honestly just wanted 808’s on a solid drum groove, says Rhee, of the hip-hop ballad tune – a song that anybody that had a crush before could relate to. “I wrote this while it was pouring outside. You can hear, smell and see the rain flooding down, you could almost touch and feel the raindrops that are attached to your windows. You’re so close to the rain, yet it’s like you’re so distanced from it.”
Once Rhee found the right sounds to go with the feeling, he wrote the lyrics as if he was writing to a friend of his. “The music had a story of its own, I just added my two cents to it,” says Rhee, his favorite lyric being “I don’t want you to say “Sorry” and I don’t want me to say “Please”.
“The most vulnerable song” is how Rhee describes “BABY BABY” as he confesses that he wrote the lyrics fully intoxicated on a late summer night in Los Angeles. “It’s like a photo you take when you’re drunk, having it completely leave your memory only for you to find it the next morning,” says Rhee, stating that he had to contemplate for weeks if he should add this song to the final tracklist.
The track itself is full of colors that jump in and out especially when the atmosphere created by the reverb gets sucked out during the chorus, as Rhee whispers his lyrics out in desperation.
“I believe every instrument has its own story to tell,” says Rhee describing how “SLUMBER” was influenced by the grand piano in the studio Rhee was staying at to finish up the album. The grand piano echoes in a warm, melancholy mood accompanied by a saxophone solo from Jean Chirac of the band Ash Rock.
Rhee stated that this was a whole new song that was added to the album at the last minute, “I literally drowned in this song for 3 whole days, as if I was stuck in some kind of trance – trying to finish and record the song”. “SLUMBER” is a conclusion, somewhat of a resolution of a sorrowful love story – depicting a soul longing and following after another lost soul. Concluding Rhee’s first-ever studio album bleeding in sunset blvd..
Contributor: Julie Choi