Compared to this time last year, 2019 has seen a disturbing lack of Sweetune. You can imagine how well this has gone over with me. So unlike everyone else on the planet, salivating for Twice’s new comeback, I was off in a tiny corner of the internet waiting with bated breath for Beautiful (아름다워) — a song by barely-known boy group Target. Hey, where Sweetune goes, I go. It’s as simple as that.
This sense of loyalty was especially evident during Target’s debut year. I was ready to lead the fan club when their first, Sweetune-produced mini album was released, but lost all interest when they followed it up with an utterly generic (non-Sweetune produced) summer track. Thankfully, Beautiful rights the ship, offering the trademark synths and gorgeous pop melody us fanatics constantly crave.
The song will win no awards for originality or ambition, but its crisp production and razor-sharp hooks are utterly refreshing. Beautiful strikes a balance between ballad and dance track, opening with a slow-burn verse that gradually gathers steam before climaxing in a lush chorus that harnesses the gorgeous vocal layering that has always been a hallmark of Sweetune’s work. The shimmering post-chorus hook is particularly effective — managing to be both evocative and addictive at the same time. The entire track has a stately appeal, confident in its ability to draw upon emotion and melody rather than resort to the kind of trendy tricks favored by too many K-pop acts of late. It all builds to an impactful climax that rushes in with a powerful ad-lib. I’m not sure that Target themselves have found a way to stand out within all of this polished songwriting, but for the Sweetune-obsessed like myself, Beautiful is pure pop song bliss.