KNK made a long-awaited return this January with new member Lee Dongwon. And although title track Lonely Night didn’t exactly set the world on fire, it was a good first step towards reestablishing the group’s standing after a nearly 18-month hiatus. Now that they’re back, the guys can move on to more interesting sounds. New single Sunset pushes the KNK style into unforeseen territories, pulsing with a captivating injection of electro bass.
Though still in its early stages, I’ve noticed an under-the-radar trend of club beats making their way into 2019’s K-pop oeuvre. EDM subgenres like trance and techno have begun popping up with more frequency. So far, Stray Kids seem to be the leaders of this burgeoning trend, but a song like Sunset hitches its wagon to the same general aesthetic.
Sunset’s slinky bassline is its most prominent element, present throughout most of the track in one way or another. Thankfully, this is complimented by a steady, uptempo beat that keeps the energy up. Many songs of this nature would be tempted to lurch into ill-conceived trap breakdowns (which nearly happens during verse two), but Sunset has a refreshingly straightforward structure. Its spoken word hook gets repetitive quickly, but is nicely balanced by standout verses.
In this day and age, it’s rare to find a K-pop title track in which the verses are the highlight, but Sunset’s blend of hypnotic instrumental and engrossing melody makes for a perfect match. Even the requisite post-chorus rap break works better than expected. A secondary refrain after the song’s spoken centerpiece might have shot this into the stratosphere, as Sunset lacks just a bit of climactic punch. Still, this is a very welcome reinvention of KNK’s sound.
I have been listening to a lot of Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys lately that right now, everything sounds heavily influenced by one or both of these.
The song is truly hypnotic. Someone is going to listen to it on repeat and get lost for a few hours or days while working studying reading playing candy crush. Not going to be me, but I don’t blame anyone else who does.
Unrelated diversion comment:
Some time ago, someone gave me a bootleg electronic copy of “Denki Groove “Niji” “Pot of Gold” remix by Paul van Dyk”. I listened to it for almost a week straight.
Apparantly, as I learned much later, Denki Groove are big in Germany, and some DJs (plural) in Germany produced an entire LP of remixes of the song, which as I also learned later is some anime soundtrack song, and that vinyl LP is almost an hour of trance remixes, and is very rare and worth money. But now we have YouTube 🙂
This is exactly the kind of – let me say – “experimentation” a group like KNK (and other 300 in the same mid-to-low amount of popularity) should play in order to come out of the sand. Maybe it won’t work, but at least it’s a surprise.
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Completely agree. In the wider world of music, I don’t think I’d call it “experimental” at all, but it does feel new to K-pop. Every underappreciated rookie group should be striving to create something different from everyone else.
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Wow, this is such a pleasant surprise in a Kpop world ! Great song. Enjoy listening to it.
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