SEOUL - South Korean singer Rain, known as the "King of K-pop", yesterday released his first album in four years as part of a long-awaited comeback after mandatory military service.
Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji Hoon, released online his sixth album, Rain Effect, as well as music videos for its double-title numbers 30sexy and La Song.
The album is his first since he finished 21 months of military service - mandatory for all able-bodied South Korean men - in July last year.
The 31-year-old composed the songs and wrote the lyrics.
A video for 30 Sexy, posted on YouTube yesterday, features Rain wearing high-waisted suits and high-heeled shoes, performing to a melody led by a synthesiser and backed by a simple hip-hop drumbeat.
"In the past, I used to do scenes of clothes being torn off and my torso exposed. I decided to come up with something different this time," he said.
A video for La Song shows Rain with newly permed hair, performing with other dancers to a Latin melody mixed with hip-hop, electronic music and rock.
"I made this song so that football fans can sing along to cheer their favourite teams during the (Brazil) World Cup," Rain said.
The singer commands a huge following not only in South Korea, but also across much of Asia and beyond.
He has starred in several South Korean soap operas and Hollywood action pictures, including Ninja Assassin and the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer. He will be making a screen comeback when he stars alongside Jason Patric, John Cusack and Bruce Willis in the action movie The Prince.
Rain's popularity at home was hit last year when he was accused of flouting military regulations - a highly sensitive topic in a country still technically at war with North Korea.
In January last year, he was confined to barracks for a week after he sneaked out to meet his girlfriend, a top actress. He was also questioned by the military, prosecutors and police over his unusually long leave periods and alleged breaches of service regulations.