Girl group 3YE have been steadily sharpening their sound with each release, injecting memorable touches into an otherwise generic K-pop style. Last year’s otherwise-bland Out Of My Mind thrived on its addictive pre-chorus, which employed the kind of airy, rapid-fire delivery that made Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy such an international success. New single Queen (퀸) goes even more idiosyncratic. As with many K-pop tracks of this era, it’s a little disjointed. But, it points the group in a promising direction.
Queen’s opening minute is nearly perfect. It pulses on the kind of momentum we rarely see these days, perched atop a hard-hitting electro throb that gradually builds as more elements are introduced. It’s a high energy dance beat just when we need it most, unscathed from pointless cheerleader chanting or troublesome rap breaks. This goodwill continues into the tempo-changing chorus, which is a bit disorienting the first time through. The excitement level remains high, but most of the instrumental drops out, making way for a loop that’s closer to psy-trance. Luckily, this change in structure is coupled with a catchy, cool hook that uses repetition to its advantage.
I’m less convinced by the noisy instrumental break that ends each chorus, but its style is at least in keeping with the rest of the song. Queen’s only serious misstep is a very predictable one: the song collapses into a lurching trap-rap break just as its second verse should kick into gear. I let out an audible groan the first time I heard this. The song doesn’t need the change-up, and would have been infinitely stronger if it had just coasted back into the addictive bounce that soon follows. It’s yet another case of self-sabotage, beholden to trends and expectations that should have no place in creative songwriting and production. Still, the rest of Queen is enjoyable enough to compensate for these concessions, even if coming this close to “excellent” is its own form of frustration.
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Wait, what, how could someone else release something today.
This song is awesome. Everything and the kitchen sink are thrown in, and yet it is original enough to not prompt the “I got a boy” comparison. Even the words “put your hands up” put in an appearance or three and it still sounds original.
Far cleverer people on thos blog than I can hopefully tell us about all those interesting chromatic progressions that are tossed in here like candy bombs.
This group is hitting far above their weight and budget in quality. Iirc this group released “Ima do ma thang” this time last year, and I thought they were not long for the kpoposphere and yet, here we are. Good job 3ye!
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Out of all these girl groups comebacks this month I didn’t expect 3YE to be one of the best. According to youtube I listened to both OOMM and DMT but I can’t remember these songs so I assume they weren’t really interesting.
The first minute as you said is very strong and it shows how important it is to start building momentum early on the song. The second verse is yet another trap break but the transition into the prechorus is pretty cool.
I would have prefered a big final chorus, ATEEZ style, but that’s probably just my own preference
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Glad you reviewed this one, I was pretty blown away by it but feared it would get lost amid the BTS hype. Wasn’t expecting a song this good from this group but it’s great to see!
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3YE is a group I’ve had my 3ye on for a while (Sorry, I just had to). While everyone knows that BLACKPINK is the spiritual successor to 2NE1, many also credit BP as the know all / be all ‘queens of sweg’ in the K-pop scene. I acknowledge that they’ve had a few good releases, but their not ‘my’ queens. Despite all the hype of BP, I’ve never been head over heels with the group. Let’s back up a bit…
I was a major fan of 2NE1 (especially Bommie) and, of course, 4minute. But I never felt that there wasn’t room for other rap’ish/hip-hop’esque acts in the playlist. While I never tried to fully embrace the hip-hop side of K-music, I liked niche acts such as E.Via/Tymee, Tiny-G, D-Unit, Girls Girls, as well as solo offerings from Kisum, Hoody, Yezi, et al. There’s many more I’m not listing, but you get the idea. There’s also current groups that flirt with this genre such as (G)I-dle, CLC, and ITZY.
Some of the groups I mentioned try too hard to present a bombastic image and it just gets lost on me. I just can’t take BP seriously when they try to get me to believe they’re tough and street-hardened. Other groups go a bit too much ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and it’s wall-to-wall silly and cute.
3YE is different. They seem like a culmination of all of those acts but more organized; more.. ..polished. Most of the groups listed above are gone. I’ve been waiting for one to come along to fill the void. 3YE seems like that group I’ve been waiting for. To me, 3YE takes many individual things from different groups and fuses them into a single package.
Here’s a bit of my own take:
Presentation/MV: reminds me of 2NE1, 4minute, EvoL, et al
Choreography: reminds me of D-Unit, Girls Girls, et al
Music: reminds me of BP, CLC, D-Unit, et al
In the end, 3YE is pushing all of my buttons in the right order. “Queen” is a definite welcome addition to my playlists.
P.S. Two songs were mentioned in the review (OOMM and Queen), but the song that put them on the map for me was “DMT (Do Me Thang)”.
Reference (DMT): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrxCrLV77uw
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Wow, this is surprisingly good. I thought 3YE would be a forgettable girl crush group with no songs worth mentioned.
The electro groove is nice, it feels catwalk ready ala clc’s “No” which is a good song too.
“Billie Eilish”s Bad Boy”
Oops! Show’s how much I listen to Billie Eilish, huh?
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