Korean 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.