After more than 10 years as leader of the top K-pop act Highlight (formerly Beast), singer-actor Yoon Doo-joon has finally debuted as a solo artist with the mini-album appropriately titled “Daybreak.”
Doo-joon is popular not only as a K-pop entertainer but also as a K-drama actor. He’s often been called on Korean entertainment media as “national boyfriend” since many women have identified him in surveys as their ideal man. Blessed with manly looks and athletic build (he’s an excellent football player and the K-pop ambassador of the Korean football association), he also has a very expressive demeanor, and he’s a rarity among K-pop singers for having become a full leading man, notably on KBS’s “Radio Romance” (2018).
But he’s best known for playing the charming and funny food blogger Goo Dae-young on TvN’s culinary-based romantic-comedy hit “Let’s Eat,” unique among Korean TV novels for having not one, not two, but three seasons! In fact when he was suddenly summoned to military service in 2018, he was still doing “Let’s Eat 3” and the series had to be cut short.
Perhaps because he was too busy with acting, Doo-joon had been the only one among the original six members of Beast who did not come out with a solo album despite persistent requests from fans. Ironically he has finally obliged now while the rest of the Highlight members remain in military service.
The carrier single, “Lonely Night,” is a moody R&B song (by BXN, Byun Moo Hyuk, and Keebomb) with the lyrics expressing dejection and sadness. In the very sophisticated music video, Doo-joon is shown alone drinking in a bar, his handsome and perfectly angular face marred by healed wounds perhaps from a scuffle.
Why is he alone? Where’s the GF of the “national boyfriend”? Or is Doo-joon missing his Highlight brothers Yong Junhyung (resigned), Yang Yoseob, Lee Kikwang, and Son Dongwoon?
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Or is he just sticking close to the trademark of Beast/Highlgiht, whose memorable songs are almost always about heartache and separation (“Fiction,” “Shadow,” “Good Luck,” “12:30,” “Ribbon,” “It is Still Beautiful,” “Sleep Tight”)? Whichever, “Lonely Night” is a very compelling song and “Daybreak” a singular solo album breakout.