Throughout his career, Canadian K-pop star Mark has shown a masterly penchant for not limiting himself to expectations. Following a rock-infused solo debut, several activities as a member of NCT, and even a stint as a fashion ambassador, the multihyphenate returns as a solo act. In true Mark fashion, “Golden Hour” — the latest addition to his music catalog — is a novel, tongue-in-cheek track that proves his unfading versatility as an artist.

Photo courtesy of SM Entertainment

Golden Boy, Golden Hour

With a career that spans over seven years and juggling several hats as a member of different groups and subunits, Mark is fittingly regarded as one of K-pop’s golden boys. If the multitude of projects, songwriting credits, and titles under his name are no proof, the singer’s new solo release offers solid evidence of his ability to turn everything — even internet jokes — into gold. 

“Golden Hour,” released on April 7, is Mark’s second solo release under SM STATION’s project, NCT LAB, a series featuring solo and unit releases by the members of NCT. Combining rap-rock elements and witty lyrics, the song was produced by dress, the creative behind Mark’s solo debut, “Child,” and K-pop hits such as Baekhyun’s “UN Village.” 

I’m Calling Gordon Ramsay

The song, penned by Mark — in collaboration with dress, Jane, ron, and Sion — was inspired by an internet interaction between one of the singer’s fans and the British chef Gordon Ramsay. The Twitter exchange involved a picture of the singer’s attempt of frying eggs, captioned with “@GordonRamsay my boyfriend was making eggs.. what do you think?” to which the chef-slash-TV-personality hilariously replied, “Get back on Tinder!”

Mark, who seemingly hasn’t let go of the roast, turned the funny episode into a confident single with a voguish take on the rap-rock renaissance. Mixing both his singing and rapping skills, the star boasts about being “all booked up” and shrugs off his not-so-remarkable cooking abilities. “I don’t know how to make eggs / But that I do not stress / ‘Cause I’ve never been hungry,” he points out. 

Style too lavish, I don’t count

Sprinkled with food references and egg imagery, the accompanying music video shows Mark in an abandoned diner, minimalist studio sets, and what appears to be an industrial complex. All along, dancers sporting papier-mâché heads follow the singer. 

Visually, the video clip’s color palette alludes to the hues associated with the golden hour — that period of the day before the sunset when warm colors merge in the sky. Attune with the pops of yellow, brown, orange, and steel blue, predominant on the screen, Mark appears dressed in denim, brown and black ensembles. Living up to his reputation as a trendsetter, the star pairs bars and witty lyrics with a fabulously in-trend wardrobe. 

The singer sources style inspiration from runway-trendy items such as aviator jackets — à la Top Gun — matching sets, tank tops, and the balaclava, recently sported by all fashion’s cool kids. Brands like Jacquemus, Polo Ralph Lauren — which Mark is an ambassador for — and Raf Simons seamlessly mix in a styling that takes cues from all of this year’s key trends. Further proof of Mark’s status as a well-informed fashionista is the galore of accessories taken from brands such as Chopona Lowena, Swarovski, and EYTYS. Mark even offers a few Y2K beauty statements with his hair styled in beaded braids and nods at the under-eye blush trend that took over TikTok in 2022. 

Photos courtesy of SM Entertainment

With a self-assured tone prevailing throughout the track, a joking “call-out” to Gordon Ramsay, and plenty of fashion to take notes from, “Golden Hour” is undoubtedly a song that fans of rap-rock will be adding to their playlists. Offering a glimpse at a more mature, unapologetic, and confident version of Mark, the single is everything NCT’s Golden Boy stands for: cheeky humor, nonchalance, and creative excellence. 

Interested in more Mark-related content? Read everything about the singer’s fashion and beauty in the first installment of our series, “Core.”