At what point does a “joke” song become a “real” song? The last time comedy duo UV hit it big with a high profile collaboration was in 2011 with Itaewan Freedom featuring Park Jinyoung. That song is obviously intended as a parody of sorts, but it’s a dynamite pop track in its own right and has enjoyed a kind of cult longevity among those who enjoy a fun bit of 80’s pastiche. In many ways, Marry Man feels like its sequel — albeit a sillier, more juvenile version.
This time, the guys paired with Super Junior member Shindong for what has to be the most upbeat, catchy 2017 SM Station release so far. From its retro synth riff to the processed drum rolls, Marry Man vomits up the cheesiest parts of the 80’s with an admirable dedication to the decade of excess. I have a total soft spot for this particular part of music history, so the moment Man‘s fist-pumping synth beat kicked in I was sold. With all the angst and trend-chasing happening in k-pop right now, Marry Man‘s unabashed jubilance feels sorely needed.
None of the three vocalists here are particularly strong, but Marry Man‘s simple chant-sung melody doesn’t call for a polished performance. Instead, the production pours on the echo and gets the guys to sing in unison for much of the track. In this way, the sound isn’t all that different from a lot of 90’s j-pop, which was kind of stuck in the 80’s anyway. The only portion of the song I could do without is the odd hip-hop-lite breakdown. It completely interrupts the track’s flow and momentarily pulls the listener out of the shameless retro fantasia that the rest of Marry Man establishes so well.