Despite largely being produced by the same team, VAV’s singles run has been pretty hit or miss. They’re at their best when forgoing trends and focusing on polished songwriting and dynamic instrumentals. This was the case for March’s Thrilla Killa, which bolstered the group with forceful, funky production and a charismatic concept. This is not the case for new single Give Me More, which is 2019-era summertime K-pop by the numbers.
Featuring American artist De La Ghetto and producers Play-N-Skillz, Give Me More sees VAV treading tropical waters, and its obvious appeal to trends is almost as dull as their Latin-inspired Senorita of last year. If there’s anything that K-pop doesn’t need, it’s another half-baked tropical bop that brings nothing new to the genre. Listen to the first fifteen seconds of Give Me More and you will have experienced most of what the song has to offer. The track establishes its island beat right from the start and never grows into anything more. Its one-phrase hook culminates in a (you guessed it!) halfhearted instrumental drop that briefly builds hype before reverting back to the More’s staid tropical groove.
With such an overly familiar template, it’s more exciting to talk about the things that Give Me More doesn’t do. It doesn’t feature an overuse of autotune, thankfully, and the guys sound quite smooth throughout. It doesn’t regurgitate those awful plonky xylophone synths that have overtaken too many recent comebacks. It doesn’t ever devolve into some energy-killing trap breakdown. For these things, I’m thankful. Give Me More may be boring, but it’s not aurally offensive. I can’t believe that’s the barometer I’m now judging July’s comebacks by.
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It sounds more like Otra Vez than anything else. That’s Super Junior, from last autumn. Except SuJu don’t have awful drop choruses, can actually speak a bit of Spanish, and have shed-loads of fans in Latin America. (Also, Eunhyuk can roll his R’s remarkably well, but why am I surprised at that.)
I am not familiar enough with the VAV fan club to know if they have a significant fan presence in Latin America.
OK, back to this song. It’s OK. Except for the awful drop chorus.
I quite liked VAV So in Love from around xmas time. A nice vocal performance and in 3/4ths time!
Also, I downloaded Thilla Killa, because I thought at the time it was funky good, but haven’t listened to it much since.
Half way through the summer already, and I’m having a difficult time recalling a summer that has been such a letdown. Outside of a few standouts, everything is so bland and forgettable.
That’s because this month in K-pop has been awfully dull. It’s the single worst July I can remember in at least a decade, and one of the most underwhelming months since I started writing this blog in 2016. I’m absolutely baffled how we got here.
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I think part of it is coming from idol groups trying to imitate the sounds of their domestic and international competition that is currently topping the charts. As a result, we are either getting bland derivatives of laid back hip-hop, moody, or coffee shop music on one hand or songs that are leaning far too hard into international trends (and frequently trends that are already on their way out) on the other. Instead of the slick, standout idol group songs of the past, we are getting overproduced copycats of sounds that are already prevalent in non-idol music, and it just results in these kind of uncanny valley, indistinct takes of what is already floating around.
Bingo. And I don’t go to K-pop for knockoffs of crappy Top 40 American music.
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