With over 3,000 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: 2015
I’m usually pretty hard on ballads. I’ll always prefer up-tempo material, but every once and awhile a slower track really captures me. This happened in the early summer of 2015 – and I wasn’t alone in this sentiment. After years of toiling away on the b-list, BTOB reinvented themselves with It’s Okay (괜찮아요), and ushered in a new era of success that hasn’t slowed since. Sometimes the right song comes at just the right moment. It’s Okay played to the group’s history, while introducing them to a whole new subset of listeners who instantly fell in love with their strong vocals.
This is one of those big, chest-beating ballads that just hits you in the soul. Its crisp, mid-tempo beat draws from 90’s r&b, offering just enough bounce to slow dance to if you’re so inclined. Its rap segments come off as conversation rather than posturing, adding an almost poetic element to the track’s slow burn. But, It’s Okay’s sucker punch comes courtesy of its climactic power notes. Every pop ballad worth its salt knows how to build toward a satisfying crescendo, and It’s Okay does this with aplomb. The song delivers an immensely satisfying ascent as we hit the final chorus, utilizing both instrumentation and vocal bravura to forge a tense – and ultimately cathartic – energy.
Melodically, It’s Okay isn’t particularly galvanizing. But, this is the rare instance where that doesn’t really matter. The song is all about its evocative structure. Like a good K-drama, the track knows when and how to deliver the goods, confidently pulling the listener along for the ride. As soon as it’s over, you feel like you’ve been through an emotional saga – a little exhausted but with a lasting sense of fulfillment.
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