With over 2,300 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 1995
Modern Korean pop music has always been inspired by the West, but the mid-90’s ushered in a complete love affair with international trends. No group better encapsulates this than Seo Taiji & Boys, who are widely credited for transforming Korea’s musical landscape from its trot-influenced origins to the innovative hodgepodge of sounds we now classify as “k-pop.” Their discography is a veritable travelogue of pop music in the 90’s, moving from tense techno beats to emotional grunge rock to Come Back Home — Korea’s most enduring gangsta rap classic.
The song was released late in the group’s career, as part of their final album before Taiji struck out on his own. It sounds like nothing else they ever recorded, and that’s part of what makes it so successful. Yes, its bass-heavy beat feels nearly identical to many of its American counterparts (as well as the rubbery hook that would later give life to H.O.T’s Warrior’s Descendant), but the guys sell it with overflowing confidence and goofy swagger.
There’s a wonderfully carefree vibe surrounding the track, with verses that feel uncluttered and offhand even as they’re framed by that taut, simplistic hook. A stream of breezy background vocals offers great contrast, as well as the song’s only real melody. Come Back Home may feel dated now, but it’s easy to hear the roots of modern Korean hip-hop being sewn within its addictive refrains.