Kim Junsu has always been one of those indispensable K-pop vocalists. There’s no one else quite like him, and just hearing his voice hearkens back to earlier eras. His last album was released all the way back in the spring of 2016, promoted by the excellent, underrated Rock The World. Now, after four years and a full military service, he’s finally returned with a new mini album. The industry has certainly missed him.
Though Junsu’s title tracks tend to embrace upbeat dance beats, his albums are often filled with ballads. He excels at slower, emotive material, but I’ve always loved his voice most when it tackles high-energy drama. Because of this, I’m delighted that Pit A Pat (핏어팻) is a full-on club track. Most of its instrumental has that aggressive electronic throb that characterized so much of K-pop’s early 2010’s output. It’s refreshing to hear such a jolt of momentum in 2020. Even when the production slows during the second verse, it does so without resorting to an expected 2020-era arrangement. There may not be anything all that unique within Pit A Pat’s arsenal of sounds, but I applaud its vigor.
Yet as expected, Pit A Pat’s most enduring element is Junsu’s vocal. His confident performance keeps the track from feeling too generic. He’s the kind of performer who needs no help from double-tracking or backing vocals. Almost the entire song is delivered without ornamentation – just Junsu and the beat. This gives the illusion of a one-take performance, as if rattling off a big dance anthem is child’s play for him. Add that sense of fearlessness to a strong, multi-part chorus, and you’ve got a great return for this K-pop legend.