The term “singer-songwriter” conjures images of coffee houses, cigarettes, and bleeding hearts, as well as second-hand acoustic guitars. It’s an unfortunate stereotype since not all singer-songwriters go about their music the same way. Enter Joker, an artist that has those tendencies in his lyrics and goes into different territories sonically. For his second mini EP, Joker’s Page #2 사필귀정, he picks up an acoustic guitar, with a pleasing twist.

joker #2

When the single, “사필귀정,” came out, I was drawn in because instead of going the jazz route with acoustic indie music, Joker used a flamenco take. This contrasts his debut single “Sue” from Kaleidoscope, a straight piano-rock song. The combination of singer-songwriter and Spanish guitar playing works wonders, from the romance inherent in Latin music and Joker’s range and vocal control. The track is exceptional, and it shows how adept Joker is in delivering ballads in different forms.

The rest of the EP is more straight forward. The track “침묵의 힘” is a melodic mid-tempo number with a plucking guitar and a slow progression into percussive sounds. The song starts spare and rounds itself out as the song continues, adding another layer to an already great track. Similarly, “당신과 나” is all guitars, with an acoustic rhythm guitar and an electric guitar coming later.

I already loved the yearning Joker’s voice lends here, but once the reverb kicks in, the feel is on another level. What could have been an okay song becomes a fantastic closer for “Page #2”, intensifying the longing from “사필귀정” and “침묵의 힘.” The result, whether intended or not, is clever, making Joker talented in something others fail at: sequencing. That flow within the EP is like a love letter, resulting in a heartfelt plea of love. Joker made a concise and perfect 15 minutes with “Page #2.”

For Joker’s Page #2 사필귀정 Joker put the emphasis squarely on love and romance to great effect. The tracks are well produced, the vocals are top-notch and the track sequencing is to be commended. For a small set, Joker packed a lot in, and Page #2 is the better for it.

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Contributed to McRoth’s Residence with a focus on Korean indie and hip-hop music.