Review

Song Review: STAYC – So Bad

STAYC aren’t just a run-of-the-mill debut group. They arrive bolstered by producers Black Eyed Pilseung, and are the first act signed to their new agency High-Up Entertainment. Black Eyed Pilseung have been responsible for quite a few major K-pop hits, including songs from Twice, Chungha and Apink. So, have they saved their best material for their own girl group?

So Bad arrives right as K-pop’s retro trend is in full swing, offering its own version of that sound. Fueled by a bright synth arpeggio and insistent kick, the verses deliver the kind of atmospheric drive we’ve grown accustomed to these past few months. Their structure isn’t particularly melodic, but the girls hit us with plenty of attitude right off the bat. I’m particularly drawn to the group’s diverse set of vocal tones. There are a few lower-toned moments within the track, which hasn’t been all that common within this generation of girl groups. This variance gives the track a jolt, ensuring that it doesn’t feel too samey.

So Bad’s chorus brings in a shuffling trip-hop beat that helps distinguish it from similar retro efforts. The hook has a simple sing-song appeal that fits right within Black Eyed Pilseung’s wheelhouse. There are times I would have brought the pitch down a bit, but this is the kind of chorus that works its way into your head whether you like it or not. So Bad isn’t perfect, but it offers a glimpse at what could become a very promising discography. It will be interesting to see if STAYC continue down this retro path with future releases, and if Black Eyed Pilseung’s sought-after production touch becomes exclusive to them.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

15 thoughts on “Song Review: STAYC – So Bad

  1. Nick, you are at least an hour earlier than usual, you doing OK out thataway?

    Wow, so much energy packed in here. Very catchy. I don’t know if I like it well enough to buy it … … she writes after listening to it a dozen times or more already, so give me another day or three and I will probably put my $1.29 down on it.

    A few comments in passing

    I wish them the best. I don’t see any real music shows up yet for the debut, only a poorly shot showcase with bad audio. (I don’t remember (or care) what music show is on Thursday’s in Korea.) The video was clearly on a budget, clever at times, but they still picked and chose where to spend the money.

    Also, those “low notes” in the verses seem low but aren’t actually low. In the first verse, the “You stole my heart” “I need your love” is only a Bflat, which isn’t low at all. It’s the same fake throaty singing that G-idle affects at times. Now, if she had sung the implied lower low note, the “You” and “My” which is an E, that would have been interesting, but it is only so briefly intoned and half spoken so it doesn’t count for me. A girl can’t really hit a low E note like that if she is pushing throaty at Bflat, you have to open, open some more, yawn, use a lot of breath. So we shall see on future songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This month’s just CRAZY with work and other stuff, so I’m trying to squeeze these all in when I can. In some cases, that means early in the morning. Hopefully I can form coherent sentences 🙂

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  2. I think it’s a more fun world with Black Eyed Pilseung tracks coming out. I have been waiting patiently since Apink Dumhdurum for a BEP track to come out, hoping the last Twice release would feature one and not quite satisfied by Rado’s work Refund Sisters…Very happy with the arrival of this track.

    I am so impressed by this debut. I really love the hook, I love that repeated “nae nae nae nae nae moeri moeri”- so catchy – it balances out the drama high jump on the “niga piryohae” that comes right before that. I love high jumps that BEP often writes, I remember Bias List also decried similar moments on some Chungha tracks.

    BEP production is really my cup of tea even if this feels like a mixture of Fancy and I’m so sick with Likey drums. I love all those songs. This has a nice mix of sultry, propulsive and quirky ear candy surprises.

    Vocal performances I’m into. I think theirs already some distinct characteristics besides the obvious Dua Lipa/G-idle Yuqi. The higher tones remind me of Rocket Punch in the best way.

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  3. I’m into it. This kind of driving beat has been lacking in a lot of songs really, so it’s nice to have one. I keep listening to it because of that beat and the song is just produced well enough that I find myself clicking repeat more times than I realize. That’s good for a debut.

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  4. I mean, I’m a sucker for those percolating BEP synths but the melody’s great too! And I love that it doesn’t slow down for a moment once it hits its stride.

    It’s my favorite debut track of the year so far, I think. We’ll see if æspa’s “powerful dance track” is capable of taking that crown!

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  5. The Lucy song “Snooze” released today is also pretty good. They are getting closer to a unique sound that I would like to hear from them more, and using that fiddle better.

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    • See, and I feel like they had that unique sound from the get-go! I don’t believe Flare was ever graced with an MV, but it’s one of my favorite songs and always gets me a little too emotional for comfort. Their other songs and Superband covers are excellent as well, but that one’s really special to me.

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  6. I’m really into this! It’s probably my fav gg debut of the year, I adore the retro concept they did with a bit of teen crush and poppy sound. It reminded me of a bit of old Twice actually. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and their vocals stand out to me. We’ll have to see if aespa’s song tops this but it will be hard I think. I missed this sound in kpop. I know retro is the trend right now but it’s swallowing a lot of group’s signature style while this was so recognizable right away. I heard the teaser the other day, not the mv teaser but the one with their vocals only, no instrumental, and it’s been replaying in my head ever since. This will be on repeat for sure and I’ll probably stan.

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  7. This is actually my favourite track so far in this particular retro style! MV budget is obvious, I hope they will do well though because this sounds very promising!

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