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: 2008
Compared to other second-gen boy groups, I often feel like SS501 gets forgotten. Yes, their agency (DSP Media) has lost significant clout compared to contemporaries like SM. And yes, their most popular member has been plagued by scandals since the group broke up. But at their peak, the group was standing toe-to-toe with titans like TVXQ and Super Junior. Their singles run is stronger than most remember, and Deja Vu ranks among their very best work.
Produced by Mordney (of “This is Mordney Present” fame — one of the best production tags to ever exist in K-pop), Deja Vu is an awesome knockoff of SM’s patented SMP sound. Built on electric guitar and stuttering percussion, the track has a theatrical bombast to it. It’s anchored by a knockout chorus, which delivers the kind of soaring melody line that was so characteristic of this era. As clean as this segment is, Deja Vu’s verses pulse with ideas. They alternate between militaristic, staccato chants, textured injections of hip-hop and powerful lamentations underlined by squealing guitar. As if that wasn’t enough, the track makes liberal use of shattered glass samples and even throws in spiraling synth that feels ripped straight from a renaissance faire. K-pop rarely goes this bonkers any more. I wish it would!