On June 23, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Lee Mujin released his first mini-album, Room Vol. 1. The album, which consists of five songs, works as an introduction to Mujin’s life story. The tracks on Room Vol. 1 were all written and composed by Mujin who blended several musical styles including jazz, rock, and folk, showing off his versatility as a musician.
Best known for his hit song “Traffic Light” and his YouTube series LMJ Service (2022), Mujin’s talent and good energy have compelled many idols to appear on the show. LMJ Service was created as a way for fans to hear their favorite artists showcase their live voices and experiment with their musical range. Despite being the MC, Lee Mujin’s charm is hard to resist. His chemistry with the idols that visit his show and his affinity with music has made the audience interested in his projects. However, with the release of Room Vol.1, Mujin came back to showcase his solo work as a musician.
The mini-album begins with the title track “Reference.” The song includes a bright melody with a fresh rhythm. Although the message behind it is not all that bright as he expresses in his reaction to listening to “different coercions directed at him as references.” The song conveys the same sunny and charming vibe he carries during his performances.
As the title track of his first album, “Reference” gives the listeners an excellent introduction to Mujin’s range as a musician. Alongside the song, Mujin released two versions of the music video for the track: ‘MZ ver.’ and ‘Latte ver.,’ with each music video portraying a different outcome from the same situation.
In the music videos, Mujin portrays a young man applying for a job interview and being faced with harsh interviewers. However, the music videos differ once they reach this point. For the ‘Latte’ version, each interviewee resists the harsh words from the interviewers, pulls a smile, and leaves to meet with people who experienced the same. For the ‘MZ’ version, all the interviewees stand up and flip off the interview’s unfair behavior.
The second song on the album is “Astronaut,” an acoustic-jazz genre. This song talks about losing one’s innocence and growing up. Mujin shares the idea that becoming an adult is like exploring a new universe that is unlike the world he lived in as a child. The song takes on some changes as it progresses, mimicking a whispered tone without breaking the rhythm, adding a distinct element to the track in comparison to the rest of the album.
Following “Astronaut,” is “Room No. 8,” a ballad mixing acoustic sounds with soft electric guitar and violins. This song feels lyrical and explores Mujin’s vocal range, which stands out from the instrumental side of the record. Reaching high with his voice and bringing it to a lower tone, Mujin plays with the dynamics of the track, making it seem effortless. This song is a bit nostalgic as it talks about the time when Mujin started dreaming of becoming a musician. It alludes to the previous track on the album as he opens up about difficult times and how the kid from “track 2” has achieved his dream.
Growing Up and Finding a New Path
Further, Room Vol.1, includes the track “To. Greedy,” mixing a more rock sound with the slow tempo of drums. From the first verse, the track feels like it’s narrating a story. In the lyrics, Mujin expresses the complex feelings of hate. Although the lyrics might seem a bit harsh, the instrumental of the single mixed with a whistling sound offers the listener a rather relaxing atmosphere for the track.
The last track of the album is “Orpheus,” an acoustic, guitar-based track with a medium tempo that makes the audience feel comfortable while listening. The track starts with looking back at the past moments, the fear of change, and becoming an adult. Mujin compares the situation to that lived by the Greek hero Orpheus, who, even after being warned, looked back at his lover to make sure she was still there even though he knew it would doom him. In the lyrics, he explores this idea, narrating as he looks back to his old dorm room, and memories flood his mind. Looking back on his old room, he reminisces on the hard times, struggles, and emotions he encountered there as a trainee as tears flood his eyes. As the song progresses, Mujin concludes that it is better to move on without the knowledge of what will come next.
Rising Star Lee Mujin
Lee Mujin’s popularity has risen with his debut in JTBC’s music show competition Singer Gain (2020), where he became one of the top three contestants, attracting the attention of the audience. In 2021, his song “Traffic Light” reached number one on the GAON digital chart and became the longest-running number one on the Billboard K-pop 100. In the same year, Mujin also won the Rookie of the Year award at the High1 Seoul Music Awards and the Melon Music Awards.
His musical talent and knowledge have allowed him to perform alongside major artists such as IU, with whom he performed a duet of “LILAC,” and Hwasa, with whom he shared the stage to perform “Traffic Light.”
Room Vol. 1 is the first of the Room series, a promise to hear more from the young artist as he releases more of his music. To celebrate his first mini-album, Mujin featured a special episode of LMJ Service, released on June 27, where we can see the artist playing the role of the guest, as well as his usual role as MC, on the show.
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