As part of their preparations for their first comeback in over two years, Super Junior have been releasing a documentary series online. If you’ve been watching, you’ll already have a pretty good idea of how Black Suit sounds. Upon hearing the first clip a couple of weeks ago, I feared that the song might be too gimmicky. Couple that with the fact that the group is currently missing some of their main vocalists due to military conscription, and this comeback could have gone either way. Thankfully, the end product is worth the wait.
Black Suit is an exceedingly well-produced blend of the retro and modern, tied together by an infectious energy that goes a long way towards ingratiating the song’s charms. I love that the guys haven’t simply tied their fortunes to a trendy bandwagon. It would have been easy and expected, but Black Suit pulses with an old-school sense of widescreen, tongue-in-cheek pop. This is k-pop dressed up in movie musical drama, driven by a surging brass riff that plays better than expected with the verses’ high-tempo electro throb. The chorus threatens to be a bit one-note, but it’s delivered with such panache that its simplicity works.
Though Black Suit‘s sound doesn’t immediately recall Super Junior’s more iconic moments, its structure feels right in line with their best material. There’s a playfulness throughout, but the dynamic arrangement ensures that the track doesn’t devolve into novelty. As expected, main vocal Yesung picks up much of the slack, delivering the song’s biggest standout moments. He’s given an excellent backdrop for his skills, especially during the extended middle eight build-up to the final chorus. As with any great pop song of this nature, Black Suit hits with a climax of aural fireworks that sends the track off on a high note. Super Junior are definitely back, and k-pop hasn’t been the same without them.