Review

Song Review: Snuper – Tulips

I’m a massive proponent of groups finding a small circle of collaborators and sticking with them long enough to develop a signature sound. Over the past few years, Snuper and Sweetune have been a match made in heaven, crafting a near-flawless run of distinct (but not identical) singles. With Tulips (튤립) — and the introduction of new production team Obros — that incredible streak has been broken.

For me, Snuper was never about being retro — a somewhat limiting label placed on them since 2016’s Platonic Love. They were about the incorporation of classic pop melody within a k-pop landscape increasingly averse to it. Even when their music embraced last year’s tropical trend, they flipped expectations to deliver two of the most tightly crafted, hookiest tracks of 2017. What a fall from grace, then, to hear Tulips’ half-spoken, half-sung chorus. It manages a bit of old-school r&b groove, and takes decent advantage of Suhyun and Sangil’s formidable vocals. But compare it to the choruses of The Star Of Stars or Back:Hug and it sounds meek and formless.

But the real problem with Tulips — as with so many other songs this year — are its verses. Melodically, they’re nothing. Literally, dead space. Yes, the guys sound nice (they always do), but I’m absolutely done with this style of subdued verse that carries no discernible melodic through-line. Instead of a momentum-building, purposeful set-up, we get a collection of throwaway posturing that’s impossible to recall because there’s nothing worth remembering in the first place. This same structure (or lack thereof) has stricken way too many boy group comebacks this year, and I’m absolutely frustrated that it’s derailed Snuper’s music as well. Tulips displays a few flashes of potential when its surprisingly dramatic bridge finally kicks things into gear, but taken as a whole it’s a major step back. And as a longtime advocate for them and their music, it kills me to write that.

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7

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12 thoughts on “Song Review: Snuper – Tulips

    • I hope so, too. History isn’t on our side, though. When groups like Kara and Infinite parted ways with Sweetune, they rarely came back.

      One can only hope that Tulips’ underwhelming response will cause Widmay to bring in a new set of producers. Or maybe Sweetune could take over their Japanese discography from now on?

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  1. I was wondering how you would react to Snuper’s neue kurs according to the tolerance you showed towards Infinite’s neue kurs, and this time I see you’re (properly) much less compliant.
    I clearly understand someone inside Widmay Ent. should have thought that having a style means nothing without having a business too (and Snuper, apart from a low market niche in Japan, in Korea have completely NO business – just look at the numbers they do on YouTube and V Live, and the flop of their rebooting chance at The Uni+), and I also clearly understand Sweetune haven’t produced a *real* hit since 2014 (Back:Hug and The Star of Stars were absolute masterpieces for me too but they didn’t work, Golden Child’s title tracks are good songs but nothing historical, Target are passed under silence at all, Lovelyz’s last title track is just acceptable), BUT this change of direction is something unexplainable.

    Who could ever give this dishwater a chance?
    I fear the end of Snuper could be near, because – although their lack of awareness – they are overpromoted (think about the recent trip in UAE, for example, or all the branded contents they have on YouTube and V Live, or the several participations in TV Shows).
    To me this ep (whose sound is almost unbelievable to belong to Snuper, and it has no credibility applied to them) is kinda end of a fable. I really did love Snuper, but it’s clear that something went wrong, and something is going even wronger from now on.

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    • Judging from their first day sales, it looks like they’re set to maintain or slightly improve upon the numbers of their last two albums. I wonder how many of these were preorders, though, prior to people hearing the actual song?

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      • And I wonder what those sales could be driven by (not hype, buzz or awareness, for example).

        Anyway: after 24 hrs, the video on YouTube marks 31K views. That’s definitely LOL.
        So worried for them. 😥

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  4. I’ve been randomly reading your blog and I’m legit scared of how similar our opinions are. I love Snuper and I love the combination of Snuper+Sweetune and I also find Tulips a huge disappointment.

    I’m not sure how well or bad this album did in the end as regards sellings but I really hope this isn’t a red flag for Snuper that might lead to disbandment. I really want them to keep on making music with Sweetune since they’ve given me some of my all-time favorites (I consider Star of Stars a masterpiece).

    PS I didn’t know Golden Child worked with Sweetune as well. That explains why they’re my favorite rookie group.

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    • Thanks for commenting! I often feel like my taste in K-pop is in the minority, so it’s always refreshing to discover that others agree.

      I’m worried about Snuper + Sweetune. I feel like once Sweetune is done with a group, they rarely reunite. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve been down this path before.

      My main problem with Tulips (besides the fact that it’s just a lousy song) is that Obros strayed way too far from the sound Snuper had been developing for over two years. It feels jarring compared to their other work, and not in a good way.

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