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: 2007
Once upon a time there was a girl group under SM Entertainment called The Grace (or CSJH). Though they released a handful of singles, the girls only have one Korean album to their name. I’d be shocked if many newer K-pop fans will have heard of them at all, which is surprising given SM’s backing. Other than boy group Black Beat, the agency isn’t known for short-term acts. Nearly every one of their debuts goes on to have a lengthy, well-promoted run. But injury, hiatus, sub-units and lapsed contracts combined to result in a murky future for the The Grace. They shone briefly, but brightly.
I was first drawn to The Grace by producer Yoo Young-Jin’s involvement with their album. One More Time, OK (한번 더, OK?) is not listed as a Young-Jin composition on his wikipedia page, but producer information for these older K-pop songs is ridiculously difficult to find online. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a hand in this, since the song follows his theatrical, guitar-fueled dance-pop to a tee. Like so many songs of its era, OK thrives on its propulsive, beat-driven energy. Its instrumental feels like a follow-up to TVXQ’s Rising Sun and ‘O,’ offering a punchy blast of unrelenting power. The Grace answer confidently, with a blistering vocal performance that pairs moments of blissful harmony with more hard-hitting delivery. It’s like En Vogue’s Free Your Mind as seen through a K-pop prism, culminating in the oasis of vocal layering that opens each chorus.
More than that, One More Time, OK is the sound of a bygone era. No SM girl group would ever touch this specific style again. In fact, I’d argue that few Korean girl groups in general opt for such an edgy sound without incorporating hip-hop or EDM — especially these past few years. Imagine an alternate timeline where The Grace had stuck together — just now approaching their fifteenth anniversary. Would the K-pop landscape be any different?
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