When it comes to pop music, I’ve always followed producers. In fact, that approach became one of the biggest reasons I first got into K-pop. I followed producer Thomas Troelsen, who I’d always admired from his work with Scandinavian acts (including his own brilliant group Private). I mention this because The Midnight Romance’s music and image remind me a bit of Private. Maybe that’s why I have such a soft spot for them.
Since debuting earlier this year, The Midnight Romance have delivered a steady stream of synthpop goodness. And right in time for Halloween, they’ve returned with the spooky Nightmare. Propelled by an icy synth line, the track is their first single to be performed in Korean. As more K-pop artists are adopting this synth style, the group’s music feels part of a wave rather than a curious oddity operating in the corners of the industry. This is to Nightmare’s benefit, as it certainly harnesses some of the same energy that made Blinding Lights such an enduring global smash.
Minue is an engaging frontman. His vocals here are airy but resolute, and offer the perfect texture for an atmospheric pop track like this. But Nightmare’s true highlight is its chorus, which propels with a dramatic flair. The refrain itself is great, but made greater by a climactic guitar-and-drums crescendo ripped straight from a horror film. It’s a gimmicky trick, and that’s what I like about it. The song embraces its own theatricality, and that’s a great fit for this genre. Plus, the guys have a freaking KEYTAR. I’m pretty much guaranteed to love anything that involves a keytar.