With over 2,900 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: 2010
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about underrated group F.Cuz, and I’m always happy to have the opportunity. Though most casual K-pop fans are unlikely to be familiar with them, the group released way more strong material than their reputation might suggest. Very early on in their career, they delivered the dramatic, completely over-the-top Midnight Sun (미드나잇 선) – and the song still holds up to this day.
Back in 2010, K-pop was just starting its massive expansion. The idol world was still a relatively small pool, and each act felt like they had their own unique character. F.Cuz would go through many transformations, but they always worked with great collaborators. Midnight Sun was composed by the legendary (and prolific) Kim Hyungseok, most well known for his work on OSTs. He amps the theatricality to eleven here, bringing in prominent use of strings and other orchestral elements. This is evident right from the start, as the track opens with a slow-burn introduction ripped right from some alternate-universe Phantom Of The Opera.
The percussion doesn’t even enter until after the forty second mark, when Midnight Sun unveils a chugging club beat underpinned by a generous dose of strings. Most importantly, the song goes for the pop jugular during its chorus, offering a soaring, anthemic refrain that stretches across multiple segments. My favorite is the extended “I wanna go back to yoooooouuuuu!” refrain and the symphonic swirl that immediately follows. It’s a brilliant capper to the chorus, and injects a cinematic appeal that heightens the sense of emotion. And just in case you thought this wasn’t *quite* overwrought enough, we get a melodramatic, spoken-word bridge to tie everything together. Best of all, none of this feels remotely self-conscious. K-pop hadn’t yet become obsessed with breaking Western markets and being “taken seriously” by journalists and critics. This was ground zero for all-out fun and madcap ambition.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!
F.Cuz were like the Snuper of their time. Constantly releasing great material but getting completely overlooked by the gp. For me One Love will always be their best single, but this one’s definitely up there
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Yep, One Love reigns supreme. This is just below it, though (at least for me).
Thanks for bringing this masterpiece to my attention! I’d been vaguely aware of F.cuz but now I regret that I’d never delved deeper into their discography.
It’s not an enormous discography, but it’s well worth exploring. Go to their single One Love next (my fav F.Cuz song) and then the great Bargaining For Love and For Century Ultimate Zest albums.
I checked out One Love right after, and I’m loving it. I’ll definitely take a look at the others, thanks for the recommendation!
I am floving this “One Love” song. A bright spot in my day today otherwise dealing with pandemic pandemonium.
It’s such a great pop melody.
this was my most played song in 2010. i had listened to this more than lucifer. but my favourite f.cuz song is still no one, that song is just so fun
Oh, I love this, literally all theater and jazz hands.
For being a small group with an unpronounceable name, they do have a remarkably strong catalog that I had not explored until this morning. I think I have a new expansion group from my ZE:A faves. I just realized that the FCuz “One Love” intro is sampled by Kville youtube compilation videos. Are you secretly Mr Kville? (Are you Batman?)
Nick, are we to be treated to more of these old skool treasures during our social distancing? Please!
You may be getting more treasures like this, especially since the release slate for the rest of the month is so bare.