As the K-pop market has become more flooded with acts, it’s not unusual to see days with multiple comebacks. Usually, these are a grab bag of varying quality, but every once in awhile you’ll get a day that unveils multiple classics at once.
This feature is dedicated to those epic days – days in which two or more singles earned a 9+ rating. They’re rare, but they’re worth celebrating! And, we’re starting with a big one.
June 22, 2015
AOA – Heart Attack
Prior to this release, AOA were coming off an intensely successful year that saw them making comebacks every few months. By June of 2015, it had been a long time since 2014’s Like A Cat, but Heart Attack (심쿵해) immediately recaptured their momentum – and then some.
Produced by Brave Brothers, Heart Attack gifts AOA with their biggest boost of energy yet. It’s the kind of relentless dance track we rarely hear these days, constantly spurring momentum as it moves through its candy-coated hooks. By this time, AOA had mastered the Brave Sound template, their vocals twisting around his cyclical song construction like one single entity. And, they managed to create what sounds like a cheerleader anthem without ever resorting to the hyper-caffeinated cheerleader chants that pepper so many of this generation’s girl group tracks.
Heart Attack may come across as neon, musical glitter, but it boasts a certain refinement that’s made possible by tight, cohesive songwriting. There’s a welcome briskness to the track, and its charismatic chorus has stood the test of time.
Sistar – Shake It
The summer of 2015 would go on to become one of K-pop’s best, and it unofficially kicked off with this song. Longtime summer queens Sistar went all-in on the concept for Shake It, which plays like every synth-heavy party track you’ve ever wanted to hear.
Opening with a catchy, ridiculous chant and bright stabs of brassy synth, Shake It lets you know you’re in for a good time right away. It never takes itself too seriously, and that’s important. Instead, we get to hear the crystallization of the Sistar Summer Sound, highlighted by one of the most distinct vocal lines in all of K-pop girl groupdom.
The song itself essentially boils down to three separate refrains, repeated ad nauseum. But, each is so potent and enjoyable that the repetition becomes an asset. Intersperse that with a fun, frothy rap break and you’ve got a seasonal classic, performed with verve and joy.
Teen Top – ah ah
Producers Black Eyed Pilseung may be most notable for their work with female artists like Twice, Chungha and Apink, but in the summer of 2015 they produced half of Teen Top’s sixth mini album, Natural Born. Their work here is excellent, in case you had any doubt.
If Sistar’s Shake It was pure summer bombast, ah ah (아침부터 아침까지) took a hazier approach. It’s the song you’d play on the way home from the beach, highlighted by wispy, filtered synths and a laid-back melody. But while the vocals may be somewhat restrained, the production never opts for murky downtempo asides. The percussion maintains an upbeat kick, even as the electronic elements point towards more atmospheric tones. This contrast pays off big-time, giving the track a unique perspective of its own.
And guess what, boy groups? You can have killer rap verses without lurching the entire track into half-time nonsense. The rap here is more charismatic and memorable than almost anything we’ve heard in 2020 — playful and fun and eminently quotable.