If you’ve been following Korean pop culture for a while, you’re probably already familiar with I Believe. But… you’ve never heard the song arranged in this way! The original is a quintessential OST ballad – a huge, enduring hit in its own right but even bigger when paired with the massive success of romantic comedy My Sassy Girl. Released in 2001, the track nearly pre-dates both Bae Jinyoung and Kim Yohan. Now, it’s been pulled further back in pop history and reinvented as a synth-fueled 80’s pastiche.
Both Jinyoung and Yohan hail from Produce 101, albeit different seasons. Still, they make for an odd pairing. This same Starship x Pepsi campaign has already delivered some odd collaborations. At least this duo feels trendy, even if their song is stuck in the past. So, how well does their reinvention work?
Honestly, this is an odd little pop trifle. The core of the original track is still there, anchored by that timeless melody. And, it actually pairs pretty well with washed-out 80’s synths. But this being 2020, the guys also throw in a generous dose of rap. This segue is relatively smooth, if quite unexpected the first time through. The addition gives the track a nice jolt, though purists won’t be pleased. I actually wonder how this is going to hit for listeners who’ve never heard the song as a ballad. For me, it’s a fun little nostalgia trip, trussed up with a production style I tend to favor. But, it’s also a cheap Pepsi shill that removes any bit of emotion and replaces it with the kind of fake fun favored by advertisements. Treat it as such, and you’ll probably have a good time.