Hyukoh dropped an amazing song and music video for something that wasn’t even a title track in “Wanli“, and while “Leather Jacket” was indeed a title track, it turned out just as quality.
“Leather Jacket” definitely has a throwback sound to it, like something from the 50s or 60s, and the upbeat pacing with a bit of funk to it has an addictive quality. The song is rebellious and spontaneous, but the lyrics have a darker edge to it, talking about the endless embrace of a sharp cliff and at one point repeating ‘die’ over and over.
Rather than being emo over death, however, it seems to be more about dealing with mortality and having the realization that for so long you’ve just done what everybody has told you to do. Lyrics like “as I followed and flowed down the river, I realize I’m running halfway towards 50, look at where this flood has brought me, I’m done drowning in this stream” make that quite clear, and it’s a relatable sentiment for millions of college/university graduates that have followed the path they were told to and now feel lost. The chorus then basically encourages people living that reality to adopt a more ‘fuck it’ attitude and live life freely for at least a while.
Speaking of the chorus, it’s a killer one with the “doobie doobie doobie” section being an effective hook. Then after the instrumental breakdown, the falsetto that follows is amazing as well. Ohhyuk‘s vocals helped to provide a unique element to the sound throughout, and then whenever the band is allowed to go off they kill it in their own right. Still, it’s the familiarity and the addictive refrain that should win people over in the end.