Review

Song Review: Gaho – Part Time Lover

Gaho - Part Time LoverBefore listening to Gaho’s first full album, I braced myself for a mix of rock and balladry. The reality is much more nuanced, showcasing a variety of sounds and styles all driven by his strong vocal. But more than anything, I was struck by an immediate comparison to another artist. It took me a few moments to decipher who the music reminded me of, and when I stumbled upon the answer I was quite surprised. Gaho’s Fireworks – at least the first half – feels like a modern K-pop equivalent to Lebanese-British pop singer Mika.

For those unfamiliar with Mika’s work, it’s a lot poppier and kitschier than I would have paired with my image of Gaho, but the two share a dynamic upper range and gutsy delivery that lends their music an idiosyncratic flair. The comparison is even more apt on standout track Part Time Lover – by far the album’s most dance-oriented moment. This was instantly my “buried treasure” pick, but now it’s been given its own music video (with promotions on the way, I hope?).

Gaho doing upbeat funk pop isn’t something I knew I needed, but he pulls of the sound with total flair. After opening with a flurry of backing vocals reminiscent of a Bruno Mars track, Part Time Lover careens into its nimble verse. Chunky bass guitar drives this segment forward, soon to be swept away by an even more ebullient chorus. I love how the instrumental swerves and smashes, bringing a palpable energy that’s difficult to resist. The hook is repetitive almost to the point of cloying, but it’s arranged in enough different ways and levels to ensure the song remains fresh. By the time we reach Part Time Lover’s stomping climax, Gaho’s bound to have your toe tapping (at the very least!).

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

7 thoughts on “Song Review: Gaho – Part Time Lover

    • I haven’t seen him on the big music shows yet (I can’t recall if he ever does the big shows, although he pops up on “It’s Live” and 1theK), but this would be a good one for a stage.

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  1. Yeah, I can hear the comparison to Mika. Those vast leaps through space and time a la Grace Kelly.

    I was thinking Jamiroquai more though, for the groove funk disco, like Canned Heat.

    And yet Gaho is his own yet again.

    I love this song, this album. It’s exciting, it does unexpected things, it takes risks, it paints outside of lines, it follows its own compass. It’s playful and has fun too. Actual fun, not carefully rehearsed reheated fun. It throws confetti in the air and laughs and says there, those are the marks I am going to hit.

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    • Was curious to hear your thoughts on the album given your comment on Nick’s “Rush Hour” review is what really got me into Gaho in the first place.

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      • Yassss, welcome to the light side. “Gaho” meaning grace in Korean. The angelic choir goes ah – ah!

        May I suggest to continue your ascent the b-side “Beautiful” from last year, or his debut “Stay Here”. They both have interesting phrasing and construction which you just have to lean and breathe into with the music.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUEPfdKxw6Y
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GHvBqysNHg

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  2. I did not expect this after finding the other tracks of his reviewed here to be pleasant and competent yet bland. This is so fun! The bass line and some of the phrasing in the chorus reminds me quite a bit of DNCE’s Kissing Strangers which is way catchier than it has any right being.

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