Review

Song Review: SSAK3 – Beach Again

I don’t see how you can listen to this song (or watch its brilliant music video) without a huge smile on your face. SSAK3 brings together K-pop legends Rain and Lee Hyori with equally legendary MC/comedian Yoo Jae-suk for a co-ed trio formed on his show Hangout With Yoo. Their goal is simple, pure and fantastic: no more ballads topping the Korean charts during the summer. Can I get an amen to that?

Beach Again (다시 여기 바닷가) has already accomplished this aim, topping digital charts as soon as it was released. And now that there’s a music video to go along with it, the sky’s the limit. It helps that both Rain and Hyori have enjoyed renewed interest over the past couple of years, making this a surprisingly timely sub-unit rather than the “past their prime” nostalgia play it could have been. It also helps that Beach Again is a genuinely good pop song. It draws equally from the 90’s trends it honors and the more modern, brass-kissed summertime pop of Sistar. This is a sound I’ve been craving in K-pop, and hopefully Beach Again’s success will reignite interest in the style.

Right from the start, the track explodes with its carnival-like instrumental – big, splashy synth brass, galloping percussion and bounding energy. Hyori and Rain deliver the opening verse with a joyful affection, and although not a singer, Jae-suk also embraces the track with a clear love for the source material. It would have been easy to play this up as some over-the-top parody, but nothing about Beach Again feels needlessly silly. It’s a full-throated pop song, complete with gorgeous pre-chorus melody and buoyant chorus. I don’t see how anyone could choose some mopey trap ballad over this. Long live K-pop summer!

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

13 thoughts on “Song Review: SSAK3 – Beach Again

    • Not yet, but I plan to. I’m currently working my way through two J-dramas, I-LAND, I Live Alone, this new C-pop show I’m loving plus the endless Golcha content they keep putting out, so time is scarce!

      But, I plan to watch it before the summer’s over, for sure. The music video sealed the deal!

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  1. Hey Nick,
    I am trying to get into J-Pop, and j-pop albums specifically. So far I have listened Hocus Pocus 2, Buzz Communication, Genex, Holy Nights, Fire Bird, No sleep till tokyo and Story (News) any other album suggestions?

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    • Wow, those two first ones you mentioned are especially solid choices!

      Here’s some more:

      Kis-My-Ft2- I Scream, Music Coliseum and Yummy
      Hey! Say! JUMP – Parade
      KAT-TUN – Come Here, Kusabi
      Sexy Zone – XYZ=Repainting
      News – NEWS, Quartetto, Neverland
      Arashi – Untitled
      T.M.Revolution – Triple Joker, The Force, Progress
      Nissy – Hocus Pocus
      Pool Bit Boys – PB2
      Purple Days – Serendipity
      Official Hige Dandism – Traveller
      The Rampage – The Rampage, The Riot
      Exile – 19 – Road To Amazing World
      Generations – A Pierrot that Can’t Shed Tears
      Looked up at a Sky Without a Sun and Moon
      Bullet Train – Ring
      Morning Musume – Thank You, Too

      There are many, many more, but these came right to my mind. Also, I may or may not have some special content coming up that will help you in your J-pop journey. Stay tuned!

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  2. Very good, brass is always my weakness. And i felt like….rain voice don’t really fit into this? Is it just bad mix or have his voice always have been so low you almost can’t hear it?

    Also, need that yoo jae suk top 10 songs. He actually have more than enough to qualify considering his comedian status, lol.

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    • I noticed that a bit too. Mho they tailored the key to fit Hyori too much, so Rain could only sing an octave lower which isn’t below his sweet spot. They coulda should put it up a third or fourth? I have no idea what Yoo Jaesuk’s vocal range is.

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  3. You just can’t get campy songs like this in the US. OK, there is probably an indie with 10,000 views that does this style but no star of note would go here.
    Does this song make me happy? Yes. How could it not. It isn’t earth shattering, but it is happiness in a bottle.

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  4. This song is such a bop. For me, music has always been about eliciting an emotional response from its listeners whether its sadness, nostalgia, anger, or pure unadulterated joy like this song does. It just makes you want to dance along(which I am currently doing as I listen to this song on loop). I wish more kpop songs tried to do that instead of just following trends. The trend of songs that set out to be moody or edgy or hard-hitting are almost never able to bring about the emotion that a song like this carries. Hopefully, some new trends are made by this song because kpop could stand to have more bops like this.

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