With over 2,600 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
Oh My Girl’s 2015 gave a pretty clear indication of where the group’s career would go over the next four years. On one hand, we had the quirky-cute debut Cupid, which slots nicely among later singles like Liar Liar and Coloring Book. But, that was followed by the wistful, lush Closer. Closer offered a more streamlined, mature sound that really set the group apart. My absolute favorite Oh My Girl songs manage to blend these two halves into one (Windy Day and Remember Me), but there’s no denying that Closer remains a high water mark in their discography.
The song captivates from its very first note, as sensuous synth gently sweeps in. The first verse is a slow burn of just-below-the-surface instrumentation that becomes more dense and layered the longer you listen to it. The girls’ vocals echo this effect, giving a subdued performance that emphasizes airy delivery and drawn out phrasing. The chorus grows naturally from the verse, blending seamlessly in a way we don’t hear often in this era of beat drop hooks. But, Closer’s sucker punch hits during the bridge, where most of the instrumentation filters out to focus on a gorgeous, harmony-rich melody. Despite only appearing towards the end of the track, this secondary hook becomes the song’s calling card, putting the perfect bow on top of an already stunning package.
I know this was a random shuffle review but I love how it slotted right on OMG’s 4th anniversary today.
Closer is just such a stunning song, not even to mention the MV, album concept, and cool zodiac-themed choreo on top of it. The girls already had my attention back in 2015 with Cupid (as well as them being B1A4’s sister group haha) but their Closer comeback cemented them as one of my favorite girl groups right then, and they’ve rarely disappointed me since.
I will say though, ever since Closer I’ve yearned for them (or any kpop group!) to collab with songwriter Laura Brian again sometime and I’m a little sad none of her work has ever shown up again. In a way I guess it makes Closer all the more special.
Oh wow, I didn’t realize that this was the anniversary of their debut date! Itunes somehow knew, I guess. It’s fate.
I love this song. This song sets Oh My Girl apart as a girl group that can really sing, on a song that requires really good singing.
Ah!!! This is why I love random shuffle review!! It lets you touch on songs I love that were released years ago!!
It’s difficult to pin what exactly makes “Closer” so successful as a song – aside from that gorgeous instrumental arrangement – but I think it’s just structurally really clever and flows perfectly in a way that a lot of kpop songs don’t right now *cough* second verse trap breakdown *cough*. It starts with that great first-half-of-chorus melody before segueing into verse 1 – but the instrumental is more muted – so when the actual first chorus kicks on at 0:40 it’s really a dreamy kick in the face. Another great choice is the shortness of each section; the verses are what, 15 seconds long? This sort of clipped pace for a ballad-style means that not only is the phrasing succinct (except in the imo overdone ad-libs during the “closer, I’m closer…” breakdown), but a lot of hooks are stuffed into the song WHILE remaining tonally consistent. I think you and I both have a bit of an issue with kpop’s occasional tonal inconsistency – of course, it can work great if you’re Yoo Youngjin writing TVXQ’s Rising Sun – but we’ve both complained many-a-time about the dreaded swaggy prechorus or other similarly confusing tone breaks in otherwise good songs. For a song that is only 3:27 long, “Closer” has a *lot* of stuff happening. There’s the opening chorus melody “han georeum closer nae mam…” which recurs four whole times; there’s the “c’mon c’mon c’mon” hook, which we hear three times – and on top of that there’s the aforementioned pseudo-a cappella breakdown (which we hear twice), two verses, AND a rap. That’s an almost “I Got A Boy” level of saturation, yet everything fits together seamlessly while still keeping the drawn-out ballad feel thanks to some genius-level arrangement skills. I’ve talked about “over-phrasing disease”; “Closer” is literally the opposite of that in so many ways. If I had to rate this, it would be like a solid 9.5: stunning, tbh.
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