One of my biggest annoyances of the past year or so in k-pop has been the lessening influence of classic producers like Brave Brothers, Sweetune, Thomas Troelsen and Yoo Young-Jin. Yes, we have newly popular talent in the form of Black Eyed Pilseung, LDN Noise and the Iggy/Youngbae duo, but my love of k-pop was fostered by some of the greats. So whenever I hear about a title track produced by one of the legends, my radar instantly goes up. Now that groups like AOA and Teen Top have seemingly moved on from Brave Brothers productions, it falls to his in-house group Brave Girls to give me my fix — and High Heels is certainly a welcome dose of his classic sound.
The song begins off-beat, with a catchy chant that veers from disorienting to brilliant the longer the introduction plays. From that point on, we’re in pure Brave Brothers territory, from the swirling vocal ad-libs to the 80’s inspired refrains. My favorite Brave Brothers tracks are inherent messy, throwing so many sounds and hooks at the listener at once that they come across as almost off-puttingly dense. But this is where the fun lies. Multiple listens unpack each little melodic turn and production flourish, giving his songs incredible staying power. High Heels isn’t quite as busy as a song like AOA’s Heart Attack, but it’s got more than enough little tricks to sustain interest. Elements begin to click into place as they’re repeated, like that aforementioned intro chant that rears its head again at the song’s climax.
It’s easy to see High Heels as the conclusion of a trilogy of tracks that started with Heart Attack and continued with Dal Shabet’s January comeback. All three songs share a bright, ballsy energy that feels unique to k-pop. High Heels doesn’t quite match them for melody, but holds its own as an early Summer standout. More of this, please!