As soon as History’s Queen music video began, with its jackhammer racket of electronic noise and played out saxophone sample, my eyes glazed over and I nearly turned it off. I railed about this exact production trend a few weeks ago with Beast’s new Japanese single. It’s very hard to remain objective about a song that chains itself so directly to the exact kpop trends I wish were extinct… but I’ll try.
After all, History are an amazing group with a very solid discography. They started off presenting a much more melodic style of dance music, culminating in the excellent Psycho from 2014. Since then, they’ve explored their hip-hop side more and more, which unfortunately has minimized melody in favor of beat. And Queen is all about beat. It has no chorus, unless you count the muttered whisper that takes place during the repeated saxophone break. I don’t.
It’s hard for me to review a song without a chorus, since it feels more like reviewing a dance showcase. I can say that I think the spoken refrain would have been stronger had the saxophone been completely removed. A sleeker, less-trap oriented beat would have given the track a sexier, darker vibe. Instead, it comes off sounding like a hundred other songs, most notably Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty. Every positive, interesting step the song takes is undercut by unnecessary noise. This is a problem I have with the trap genre in general, and Queen does nothing to alleviate it. Even when the track moves to a more energetic break beat about two thirds through, it comes off as too scattershot to make much of an impression. It’s a shame, because there are some interesting ideas hidden underneath all the clutter.