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: 2014
To this day, sub-units within popular girls groups are not an ultra-common approach. In fact, I’m surprised that we’ve never seen the debut of a unit from current K-pop queens Twice. I guess they’re just working so hard right now that there hasn’t been time. But, a stellar unit can really bring new dimension to an act. When Girls’ Generation’s TTS (comprised of Taeyeon, Tiffany and Seohyun) debuted in 2012, the immense success of their song Twinkle helped to make up for the fact that the full group didn’t actually release a Korean album that entire year. Better yet, the trio showcased the strength of the members’ vocals – a facet that occasionally got lost within SNSD’s upbeat, slickly produced singles.
When TTS made their 2014 return, it was with the high-energy dance pop of Holler. I always appreciate when vocal powerhouses stray from tried-and-true balladry. You can belt it out just as easily over a club beat, and the results are often spectacular. Holler draws on the girls’ strengths, but also harnesses their sense of rhythm. Brassy sounds were starting to make inroads to K-pop at this time, with Holler’s chugging, brass-kissed beat arrived only days after EXID’s (much more industry-defining) Up & Down.
Apart from this concession to trends, Holler is a relatively straightforward pop track. Its verses set the mood, but aren’t particularly galvanizing on their own. The song’s true calling card comes during its titular chorus, which layers the girls’ voices to create a larger-than-life wall of sound. Holler grows more addictive as it goes on, peaking with a gorgeous, vocal-rich bridge that moves into a funky breakdown as we reach the final chorus. Taeyeon’s voice, in particular, is in full bloom here, offering a stirring power note that elevates the track’s climax. In the grand scheme of things, it’s relatively generic fun, but with substantive performances to back it up.
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