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!
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