At this point, the tag team of Snuper and Sweetune has built up such good will that I’m bound to enjoy anything the two collaborate on. I love it when a group finds the perfect producer to steer their sound and actually sticks with them long enough to establish a cohesive discography. Snuper may have only released a total of six new Korean tracks this year, but it’s been a case of quality over quantity as their retro style has both deepened and expanded by twisting current trends to make them their own.
Dear feels like a pause to take a breath between bigger moments, and that’s perfectly suited to the track’s position as a non-promoted anniversary release. These types of songs are often maudlin affairs, accompanied by some hastily edited clip reel of behind the scenes material. But Sweetune have taken the opportunity to experiment once again, melding their lush, trademark 80’s sound with a host of more modern production techniques.
Dear is a slow burn ballad, driven by layers of sawtooth synths and an ever-fluctuating instrumental. Its use of dynamics is fascinating, punctuating the rap verses with a dense blanket of sound while pulling back entirely for the ultra-sparse second verse. Through it all, the guys’ vocals are arranged as yet another equal element, weaving around the instrumental but rarely taking precedence. It makes for a slightly murky approach, but the icy synth-pop tone ensures that the gamble pays off. And then there’s that gorgeous chorus, which hits all the right spots during the song’s final key change climax. The track could have done with one last, beautifully layered refrain to round it out, but in the end Dear is more about nuance than bombast.