Okay, K-pop, I think it’s time to admit you have a problem.
Out of the eight songs I’ve reviewed this week, 50% of them have suffered from the dreaded half-time trap-rap breakdown in their second verse. The rest were mostly ballads or mid-tempos, which don’t generally include rap at all. Some songs are strong enough to counteract this lurching roadblock, but they can even be more frustrating. There’s nothing worse than an otherwise-dynamite track stumbling in its saggy middle. K-pop’s second verse has become like that video game level you can never pass, with the same unbeatable opponent lurking in your way every time.
I mention this because ANS’s new single Say My Name is now the umpteenth song to collapse in its second verse. But, the bulk of the track is more indebted to the “big room” EDM sound of Everglow’s 2019 hit Adios. Much of its structure is the same, down to the hushed pre-chorus that heralds its booming synth centerpiece.
I don’t mind this style, but Say My Name isn’t a particularly strong example of it. Melodically, there’s an awful lot of filler, wrapped around more onomatopoeias than you can count. These girls sure like their “booms.” They’ve been “going boom boom” since last year’s…erm… Boom Boom, and Say My Name is just as mindless. Apart from that dreaded second verse, its most interesting moments occur outside of the chorus. Its first minute is pretty addictive, throwing catchy sing-talk rap over a high-energy beat that reminds me of K-pop’s second generation. Unfortunately, Say My Name’s central hook is just a bunch of gibberish, barely-formed and very throwaway. That’s a shame, because there are glimpses of potential here. About one fourth of the track feels like it could have been forged into something fun and nostalgic. Sadly, one-fourth of a song isn’t much of a song at all.
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