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Run River North, a band out of California formerly called Monsters Calling Home, is an up-and-coming band that uses their music to speak to the experience of being the children of Korean immigrants and being a part of two cultures. Especially in their song, also called Monsters Calling Home, they are influenced by the experiences of their parents and the struggles they faced growing up in a different country. The opening lines say,

They're walking heavy to the beat of a broken drum
Digging for worth in a land under a foreign sun
Their children call, bitter words of a strange tongue
Hearts down, they're walking heavy till the dying's done

They use their lyrics to explain, and maybe discover for themselves, the difficulty of being American immigrants, and what it means to be their children. In addition to writing about their parents’ experiences, they address their experiences, especially involving their youth. In their song “Growing Up”, they write,

I used to close my eyes
To what stirred under my bed,
Now they’re open wide
To the monsters in my bed.
Instead of claws, they whisper lies
Sinking fear in quiet steps.
So I will fight in the light
‘Til I give my final breath
I will fight in the light.

The band references the new experiences and fears that come from growing up, but also hint at their Christian background in how their worries can be handled.

Beyond just the lyrics, the instrumentation aids the presentation. Their sound is unobtrusive, but pleasant. They use harmonies in their vocals extensively, but also some strings and the usual instruments for a band (guitar, drums, etc.). It is smooth and calm, the kind of music that lends itself to singing along. They put the focus on the lyrics and the message they get across.

- Avery Johnson

October 2014
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