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: 2012
MYNAME has always been an underappreciated group, more successful in Japan than their native Korea. Though they’ve released a solid singles run, they’ve never found that one iconic hit that would make them stand out. It’s fitting, then, that my favorite MYNAME single is probably What’s Up — a 2012 entry taken from their J-pop discography.
2012 was filled with this kind of synthesized dance pop, driven by a chugging electro beat and climaxing in a big, hands-in-the-air chorus. It sounds kind of dated now, but not in a bad way. A good melody will never go out of fashion, and What’s Up knows its way around a hook.
The song opens with the simple synth chords that will act as the backbone for the entire instrumental. Rather than lurch this way and that, momentum is built by the gradual addition of extra percussion, counter melodies and instrumental flourishes. This gives What’s Up a satisfying surge without ever going over the top. I love that the song throws much of its focus on vocal-driven hooks. Layer upon layer is slathered on top of the track, as if this was an arrangement meant for a show choir rather than an idol group. The call-and-response chorus is unlike any other I can recall, twisting in ways that feel antithetical to how pop songs are usually structured. The fact that this still comes across as breezy and uncluttered is a miracle unto itself.