After the remaining B.A.P members left the hellhole that is TS Entertainment earlier this year, it seemed as if the group had essentially disbanded. We could certainly get a reunion in the future, but for now the guys are focusing on solo projects. For Jung Daehyun, that meant a mini album of ballads earlier this spring and the new single Aight (아잇), which is the polar opposite of a ballad.
Over the past few years, I’ve lamented the slow death of “groove” in modern pop music. As the genre has become more and more computer-based, new artists and producers are able to forge entire tracks using only a laptop and a few peripherals. The idea of a session musician — or even a live instrument — feels almost old-fashioned. Connecting this directly to K-pop, I fear that these technological advances mean a glut of lurching electronics arranged in lockstep formation. The songs have a beat. They’ve got tempo. But, they lack funk. They lack that most human of musical elements — an indelible groove.
Groove is one thing that Aight gets right. The song pulses on an addictive electro throb, adorned with bass guitar and vocal flourishes. To me, it recalls the late-80’s work of rock band INXS mixed with early 00’s Daft Punk, which is a comparison I never expected to make. I’m sure it was all accomplished on a computer, but at least the instrumental strives for a loose, organic appeal. Unfortunately, Aight’s melody and performance aren’t quite up to the challenge. Too much of the song feels overly beholden to its production, fitting half-formed melodic hooks around the exciting instrumental. Without one distinct refrain to hang its hat on, Aight actually ends up more groove than song. The old idiom “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” seems apt here. Oh, the irony.
I am not hearing INXS. Daft Punk yes.
This one sounds like basic kpop to me.
I really feel for these guys who try to go solo after their group disbands. The public has moved on. This video has all of 3.8k views. The Ze:a guy from a month ago is up to all of 19k views. This is just not sustainable for them. Kpop is a brutal industry.
OT: INXS – I was thinking about them just last week, because they are among the few groups from my childhood that I haven’t downloaded anything from onto my ipod, not even one nostalgic song. I had Kick on cassette tape. Maybe the tape was actually my sisters. The videos played incessantly on MTV, I know them all almost shot by shot. Anyway, I don’t hear INXS, because INXS really had good hooks, and they had the guitar riffs and saxophone solos going all 80’s style. And a bassist named Garry Gary Beers.
LikeLiked by 1 person
(And I have even bought some Icehouse for nostalgic vibes. I hear my son singing “Electric Blue” around the house from time to time.)
Also OT: the one minute long Super Junior “Super Clap” dance preview – that song sounds like it is going to guh-rooooove. The song formally drops on Monday.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s that spoken-word vocal delivery and brief bursts of guitar that are giving me Mediate/Devil Inside vibes.
As far as SJ goes… I try not to listen to 1+ minute previews before a song’s released, but the shorter teasers sound great. I hope the full thing lives up to the hype!
I consider myself a rather huge INXS fan (mainly because of Hutchence’s voice), so yeah, I agree with you.
Daehyun is usually a ‘passable’ singer, but I don’t know why he sounds rather boring in this. With a million followers on Twitter, one would wonder why his Youtube views are so little.
Mediate. OK, when I listen closely, yeah I can hear the resemblance for a spell.
I usually think of the song structure and video for Mediate, so the roughness yet softness of the vocal didn’t come to mind. The video is one of the first homages to Bob Dylan’s old cue card video, which has since been further copied in pop culture once or twice a decade. So for us kids back then, we thought we were being clever and cultural when we watched it, you know, I mean, Dylan. For Devil inside, my mind goes to the verses and guitar hook first.
“Mediate” is also one of a handful of “List” songs that came out around then, and it is notable in this class because of all the clever internal rhyming in the list. REM had “End of the World”. Billy Joel “We didn’t start the Fire”. U2 “Pride”. “Waters of March” is a classic list song. Sondheim puts one or two lists songs in each of his musicals – “Mr Goldstone” is an old old classic, also chock-a-block with internal rhymes.