JYP (Park Jinyoung) is a legend in the world of kpop, and rightfully so. Not only is he the founder and head of his eponymous agency, but his career has continually forged the path of what kpop has developed into, starting in the 90’s and continuing to present day. He’s also a total character, and has injected more and more of the oddball side of his personality into his most recent material.
Fresh off the heels of his surprise hit Who’s Your Mama from last year, JYP’s gone the viral comedy route again and delivered one of the most enjoyable kpop satires since Gangnam Style. Like PSY, JYP can do comedy because he’s earned it. The entirety of Still Alive is a celebration and savaging of his career, but it’s connected to a dynamite song that teases out all the best qualities of his music. JYP’s always brought an effortless sense of funk to a genre that can sometimes be overthought. The things this guy can do with a simple horn section or vocal undulation put him in a class of his own. He’s very much an old-school performer, and that serves him well in a song like this, which relies heavily on the strength of its delivery.
Still Alive sees him rap-singing, which could have been absolutely cringe-worthy. But, this is where the song’s lighthearted nature kicks in and paints over anything that might have grated in a more serious-minded performance. The hook, as simple and short as it is, feels incredibly cool and unburdened. I love the touch of surf guitar, tracing the path of the backing vocals and offering a brief respite from the rapid-fire lyrics that make up the bulk of the song. It’s the type of fun refrain I’d expect (and hope for) from one of his younger groups, like GOT7 or 2PM.