We’ve been in the middle of a Sweetune drought for awhile now. The period of January through May spoiled us Sweetune-obsessives, with new tracks popping up almost every month. But, it’s been since TST’s own Love Story that we’ve heard something fully produced by the team. To raise anticipation even further, this new track is called Paradise of all things. The last time we had a Sweetune-composed Paradise, it was in the form of one of K-pop’s all-time best songs. That’s an awfully high bar to live up to.
Unsurprisingly, then, TST’s Paradise (낙원) doesn’t feel completely essential. However, it’s got enough of that trademark Sweetune kick to make it a very welcome addition to this fall’s K-pop releases. Up to this point, TST (formerly TopSecret) have pursued a more uptempo, lighthearted style. Paradise slows things down and enhances the emotion. It also borrows more heavily from today’s trends than Sweetune is generally known for. Its opening verse is worryingly generic, with its repeated guitar riff and synth squiggles circling the background. I kept hoping for more dynamic percussion to enter the fray, but things stay pretty subdued until we hit the chorus.
Oh, but that chorus. I can always count on Sweetune to deliver on their choruses. The arrangement opens up and the vocals stack on top of each other in a towering display of polished, pop song passion. This hook isn’t particularly complex, but its gradual ascension is completely effective. It has a rough, unfinished quality that actually works in its favor, complimenting the wistful nature of the song. Paradise’s climactic moments aren’t quite as tightly constructed as I’d prefer, but the song leaves a stronger impression than any of TST’s past work. Hopefully the guys won’t pull a Snuper and abandon Sweetune altogether. There’s clearly more to mine from this collaboration.