Ahhh the ’90s, when the UK charts were stuffed full of Britpop and Grunge, shoegazing and boys with floppy fringes. Over in Korea, it was nimble dance pop acts that were stealing all the top chart spots. And now one of them is back: Turbo.
There are three members: Kim Jung Nam, Kim Jong Kook and Mikey, but this comeback is the first time they’ve all performed together. Jung Nam and Jong Kook were the original duo who debuted as Turbo in August 1995. The partnership, created to rival then dance pop kings Deux, allowed former DJ Jung Nam to showcase his rap and choreography skills, well matched with Jong Kook’s stunning vocals.
Turbo earned the nickname ‘dance music’s scary kids’ after their debut My Childhood Dream and follow up releases proved wildly popular with dance fans. Their second album New Sensation sold 800,000 copies in its first few months. However, problems with their management overbooking the boys led the band to vanish from the public eye for a while. Not just from the public eye either – the police had to get involved to locate the performers.
When they returned in 1997, Jung Nam had been replaced by Mikey, a Korean-born singer who’d grown up in the U.S. The new duo had no less success with album sales, and scored a collaboration with Will Smith, rapping on his Korean release of Just the Two of Us.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though: more management troubles in 1998 led to Jong Kook not performing his part at a huge event, the Asia Superconcert, and leaving the stage somewhat rudely without bowing. As a result, Turbo were banned from appearing on TV for almost a year. The group broke up not long after releasing their 5th album, which was yet another million seller, mainly due to Jong Kook’s contract expiration. You might know Jong Kook for his role on popular TV show Running Man, but he – and none of the other members in fact – have shied away from music before this comeback. Jong Kook has released seven albums as a solo artist, and Mikey joined the group M3, while Jung Nam has performed with SNAP.
The comeback track and album Again has been a true return to form, achieving an all-kill across the Korean charts, and pocketing the boys some new music show trophies to kick off their 2016. Check out our MV breakdown for Again right here.
Again – the comeback track
My Childhood Dream (MBC performance)
Black Cat Nero (MBC performance)
Just the Two of Us – with Will Smith