I’m honestly a little confused when it comes to Boyfriend’s current status. Their contracts would have expired last year, but I never remember hearing news of a renewal. As much as I love the group’s music, I would have pegged them for a likely disbandment simply because Starship Entertainment rarely does anything for them in Korea anymore. Yet here they are in 2019, releasing another Japanese single ahead of their third full-length J-pop album.
I really do hope the group pulls through. Their string of Sweetune-produced music is one of the most underrated discographies in K-pop, and their Japanese work has been consistently strong as well. Stay The Way You Are is another example of this. The song feels somewhat underwhelming the first time through. It’s straightforward and generic, but it gets the job done.
J-pop tends to favor more drawn out, complex melodic refrains than K-pop, and this approach can take some time to get used to. Stay The Way You Are opens with its defining chant of a hook before retreating to a standard dance-pop build. The instrumental recycles 2012-era EDM synths, which would have felt completely unoriginal five years ago. Yet, perched in the current climate of tropical future trap, they come across as downright refreshing. Better yet, the surging chorus acts as a shout-it-from-the-rooftops anthem that soars in all the right places. None of this is remotely edgy or novel, but Stay The Way You Are is the kind of musical comfort food I’ve been missing lately.
It’s almost unbelievable that this is the same group of the epic Janus and I Yah.
Ok, I see that japanese releases by korean artists are always made to fit a different market with different – let me say – “styleguides”, but here we are in front of the ground zero of absolute cheapness. In particular, the choreo is something we have never seen even by rookie groups at their debut, not to mention how forgettable the song sounds and how uninvolved they clearly are in performing the MV.
Maybe, on the contrary, I am too involved to judge this mess honestly: Boyfriend and INFINITE are the reason why I began to love KPop, and to see how the fable ended (in both cases) is something that hurts me like a knife.
And unlike Boyfriend, I keep having my heart in Korea and not in Japan.
I think listeners really have to adjust their expectations when it comes to Japanese work by Korean artists. It’s just such a different market. Of course this song isn’t anywhere near as strong as any of their Sweetune work (few songs are), but I appreciate that it doesn’t borrow the same boring synth textures that are trendy at the moment. It has a classic 2011/12 touch (can you believe I’m calling 2011/12 “classic”? It seems like forever ago…)
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