It’s been a while since I listened to Ha HeonJin. It’s been a few years since his last extended release and now in 2022, the blues artist released Happiness. Blues in South Korea does have a decent amount of artists, but it’s become harder to find them. Seeing Ha Heon Jin release a new album makes me want to look back into the genre.
Happiness starts with “On My Yaong.” It’s a more direct blues track, moving forward with an acoustic guitar and his voice. The spoken word intro is calm and when he starts the verses, it brings back old memories. There’s a casualness to his performance that also presents his incredible style.
Ha HeonJin also changes a bit instead of a straight blues album, he wanders into other genres as well. “Happiness” is a mixture of folk and blues, mixing the styles together. The slide guitar is like the glue between the acoustic guitar and keyboards. It’s a song that sways during the verses.
“You Make Me So Sad’ does the same thing. The track starts as a low-key indie rock track with a slow tempo and slowly adds more instrumentals that bring that blues background forward. It’s disarming but also grabs your attention. “Love Me Again / Doctor Said” is a bit more standard. The blue rhythms and composition start immediately. I like the difference between the previous songs and “Love Me Again / Doctor Said” because it shows Ha HeonJin has his world and grabs the pieces he wants.
“Listen” reminds me of Ha HeonJin’s older music. It sounds like he could be sitting on a porch and playing music just for himself. You also feel like you’re listening to an experienced performer play right in front of you without any pressure, simply enjoying the moment.
After listening to a lot of faster tempo and louder music, Happiness is the perfect change. Ha HeonJin continues to thrive within the blues genre but also adds some new elements that broader his sound.