2018 has been pretty light on debuts from K-pop’s bigger agencies, making me wonder if the industry’s rapid proliferation has started to slow. This is advantageous for rookies currently seeking to prove themselves, but there are few things more exciting than a knockout debut. I’m cautiously optimistic that Jellyfish Entertainment’s new boy group VERIVERY will deliver one of these moments, especially since they seem to be taking a lighter, more upbeat approach to their music.
Before we hear that debut, pre-release Super Special offers a super specific genre template. The song is New Jack Swing through and through, making almost no concessions toward current trends. Much of the formative music in my life (including my favorite album of all time, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814) is cut from this same cloth, so it’s no surprise that I took to Super Special right away. From a production standpoint it nails the style, grooving on its lockstep beat, augmented with funky synth and chorused ad-libs. In fact, it’s surprising how dead-on the instrumental is. This isn’t just inspired by the late 80’s — it’s a total re-creation.
Like I said, I’m not complaining. However, I wish the melody carried more bite. Instead of grabbing you by the collar, it coasts. The guys’ performance is breezy and amiable, and displays a promising level of personality during the playful verses. The chorus, on the other hand, feels as if it’s simply going through the motions — no matter how lovely its harmonies are. I guess the main purpose of a pre-release is to build interest. With that in mind, Super Special is an unqualified success. I just hope their official debut is a showstopper.