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: 2015
Back when I first launched this site, I placed Devil as my favorite k-pop song of 2015. In hindsight, I’d actually shift a couple of that year’s releases above it, but its lofty placement shows just how much this song soundtracked that summer. Devil was part of Super Junior‘s special tenth anniversary album, right before members Donghae, Eunhyuk and Siwon were set to enlist in the military. Upon its release, I remember reading that the guys saw the song as their new representative track — replacing the iconic Sorry Sorry. Of course, nothing can replace a song as enduring as Sorry Sorry, but Devil‘s slinky groove comes pretty close.
I don’t remember being immediately enamored with Devil as a whole, but that breezy, ultra-melodic hook was an instant winner. It was stuck in my head for months. Produced by the Stereotypes, the track’s grown-up funk feels perfectly suited to k-pop’s elder statesman. It’s the kind of song that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard, and that sense of laid-back freedom becomes more addictive the longer you listen to it. It also plays to the group’s personalities, capitalizing on their light, improvisational goofiness. The bridge’s call-and-response interplay is especially charming, as the guys build a hooky climax by layering their voices on top of one another. Like the rest of the song, it’s incredibly smooth. Super Junior are way too self-effacing to be considered “cool,” but they sell that sentiment here with overflowing confidence and effortless panache.
I remember back in 2015 I considered this, Married to the Music and Love Me Right the “funk trilogy” of that year and I was obsessed with all three of them. Although I’m a little biased towards MttM due to SHINee being my favorite group, I have to admit Devil has just endured incredibly well since then, with all its hooks and its addicting delivery. Definitely SuJu at their best, and it didn’t surprise me at all that they decided to emulate the same vibe with Black Suit last year.
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What a transcendent trilogy that is!
Come to think of it, when was the last time we heard a straight up funk track from SM? It’s time to bring that back. We know they can do deep house and hip-hop and tropical pop. Where’s the funk?
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