Korean trot is a very specific genre, and with that specificity comes limitations. You pretty much know what you’re going to get out of a trot song. Whether you enjoy it or not will likely depend on your mood. I’m always up for some Hong Jin Young in variety shows (she has one of my favorite personalities in K-pop), but it can take a certain frame of mind to fully enjoy one of her trot tracks.
However, Love Tonight (오늘 밤에) makes a smart move. It maintains the vocal technique and song structure of a good trot song, but expands its appeal with a disco-fueled instrumental. Jin Young has previously discussed how she trained to become a girl group idol prior to her trot career, and I would be curious to hear how Love Tonight would sound if delivered in a more mainstream way. But even with the familiar vocal inflections, the song holds its ground against most modern-sounding girl group tracks of the moment.
Opening with an icy synth riff, Tonight instantly recalls 80’s synth-pop — funneled into a pulsing disco beat. Unlike many current singles, Tonight rushes right into its chorus — a surging piece of pop melody that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but takes great advantage of Jin Young’s expressive vocals. The verses are slightly moodier, slowing the energy before building into a wonderfully dramatic pre-chorus. If Love Tonight suffers from anything, it’s a lack of innovation. Genre-mashing aside, we’ve heard this song countless times before. That familiarity is comforting in a way, but will likely hinder its staying power.