I’ve got a potentially controversial opinion: it’s time to reduce the amount of rap in idol songs.
It’s become such a staple that K-pop’s melodies are beginning to follow suit, losing their robust, artfully-constructed refrains in favor of throwaway sing-talk. I suspect much of this is due to the logistics of idoldom in a rapidly-expanding market. After all, it’s much easier to find a dozen pretty, charismatic people who can sing-talk than find the same number of pretty, charismatic people who also happen to be excellent vocalists.
I mention this because MCND’s nanana is the latest K-pop comeback to be short on melody. It’s a noisy, lumbering beast, underpinned by those aggressive, Monsta X-esque synths we’ve all become so familiar with over the past few years. Unlike SuperM’s 100, which went for a similarly unrelenting energy, nanana’s instrumental is not particularly pleasant. It lacks warmth and depth, preferring a more frenzied, chaotic sound. I appreciate how the tempo doesn’t twist itself in unnecessary directions. In fact, it actually speeds up for the chorus – a rarity in today’s K-pop. I just wish that every moment of it didn’t give me a headache.
What little melody nanana delivers is very much within the sing-talk realm. Its chorus has that juvenile, taunting sound that I’ve come to expect from songs with wordless titles like this. There’s way too much going on, and very little is pleasant to the ear. The track’s pre-chorus is our only oasis, though the melody here is rather forgettable. In between, we have the core of any MCND song: the rap. This time around, their preferred style is not subtle, and leaves little room for dynamics. Instead, the guys SHOUT EVERYTHING. Yep, this is a song in all caps. And, it’s absolutely exhausting.