Song Review: Gaho – Rush Hour

Gaho - Rush HourKorean dramas often make stars of their actors, but their soundtracks can also elevate a singer’s career. 2020’s Itaewan Class was such a hit, launching Gaho’s Start Over into the stratosphere alongside it. Before that, he’d released a mini album and a couple other OSTs. None of them charted.

With momentum behind his brand, Gaho has been surprisingly quiet. Apart from a few more OST efforts, Rush Hour is only his second single since last year’s breakout. The track ups the energy compared to A Song For You, though it takes a bit of time to get going. For the first minute or so, Rush Hour seems content to remain a pleasant little acoustipop bop. It bounds upon plucked guitar and a plonky beat that has bounce but not bite. It feels a little like the Jason Mraz of K-pop.

Thankfully, Rush Hour finds its footing during the chorus. Rock guitar joins the fray, giving the instrumental a crunchy backbone that injects much-needed drive. The melody here is standard radio-rock bombast, but works as a dynamic contrast to the verses. As usual, Gaho’s performance elevates the material – especially when he fires shots of killer harmony into this refrain. If I had it my way, the entire track would follow the explosive arrangement of its chorus, but I understand why they took a more fractured approach. Still, Rush Hour’s final thirty seconds make a convincing case for how great a full-on rocker might have sounded.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

17 thoughts on “Song Review: Gaho – Rush Hour

  1. I cannot hide my happiness at seeing this review being posted. Myma, we finally did it!

    Full-throated singing, check! Great production, check! A thundering rock sound, close. This is the Gaho I did not expect but this song’s chorus just strikes you down. Though this song misses a chance to be a full-on rocker, I’m in for more songs of the same style from him. I can’t stop imagining him in a rock band.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Xydo, and Heize are great to review too.

        Also, a side note. I found this pretty obscure song today. It is K-Indie, but man those are some strong vocalists. Their harmonies are great. Its decidedly old school, maybe 50’s to the 70’s.


        Liked by 1 person

        • Hah, that sounds like an old Burt Bachrach-style song, as you say from back when. Thanks for sharing.

          I will share back this chestnut which came across my feed recently of Forte Di Quattro with their standard encore “Il Libro Del’amore”. FDQ are Forestella’s sunbaes. No microphones, just them and a piano.

          There is so much joy in both of our shares today, and that for me what it is about, the joy of singing. If there is no joy, what is there?


  2. Whoop whoop! Nick reviews Gaho! Thank you, Nick!

    The song itself fits squarely into summer hit song style. Jason Mraz indeed. This is the song I can imagine hearing at the pool or over the air at Target and the supermarket in the US, not that it will ever get there, but in my imagination yes.

    But let’s talk about the delivery. OK, the main melody does not have Gaho’s trademark octave-busting style, as this one is merely two and a bit octaves, not three. But hey not every song can or should be like that. Listen to how effortlessly he transitions through each of his registers. Low growl down and around in the lower part of low C, mixed voice for the main part, falsetto flourished throughout. Effortless. This is the kind of performance that is so easy to listen to because you are not wondering oooh is he going to stick the landing, of course he will. A solid pop song, solidly delivered.

    Listen to the harmonies! THIS is what I want to hear in a sung harmony. This song will now be my poster child for what I mean when I want to hear more sung harmonies. All the little ooh wah wah’s in the chorus, oooh wow.

    May I suggest as a Hidden Track “Beautiful” (from last year, but who’s counting). It goes full Freddy Mercury rock anthem complete with an exuberant visceral crash at 2:42. This one is a full three octaves from A2 at 0:42 to A5 at 2:29. Kpop’s Dimash. ‘

    Related – Gaho’s covers are also awesome. The original of this song Rose’s “On the Ground” was a meh for me, but the cover with full band, live-ish version filmed on the usual kpop helipad, gah, Gaho makes me flike this song.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Off topic: I have been reminded in a dozen or so places today that today is Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday. There have been a dozen or so poets to win the prize, but Bob Dylan is the only poet to win for song lyrics. That, and also boomer sentimentality. Here is one of my favorites of his, “Blowing in the Wind” as sung by Peter, Paul & Mary, this version below is with the lyrics. I can’t imagine anyone covering this song in Korea, it seems like the subject would hit a little too close to home – has anyone heard a Korean cover this?


  4. Yeah, this is a nice listen! It’s a fairly basic pop song but he’s actually a good singer, which for me really elevates a song from ‘just basic’ to ‘a solid basic’. A basic concept elevated by a great execution. The rock guitar gives it some punch and a little texture to make it just unique enough.

    Fun to see the efforts of the comment regulars pay off, too.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I don’t have much to say that others haven’t. I don’t think this is quite my favorite compared simply because the verses are just not strong enough but I like the rock, too fleeting to be showstopping but appreciated. The Charlie Puth comparison is very accurate, though I prefer Charlie over GAHO though they are both good. Great vocals, but not for me. Good for everyone else that Nick finally reviewed him though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Jason Maratz of K-pop. Hah! I cackled!

    Thanks to the lovelies that got Nick to review this… man’s a vocal gem. I prefer more typical generic pop, but I can still appreciate and recommend his work.


    • *Jason Mraz. Ya girl did not know how to spell Jason Mraz and she also can’t figure out how to change the comment. And no, I could not go without correcting my mistake hehe


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