With over 3,000 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2013
Boys Republic never announced official disbandment, but they’ve been on “indefinite hiatus” since 2018. Flash back five years prior, and they debuted with what would end up as their highest-charting single, Party Rock (전화해 집에). As the first K-pop group under the worldwide Universal Music brand, it seemed as if their career would be ripe for international success. Unfortunately, worldwide mega-stardom never quite materialized. But, Boys Republic still leave behind a really solid discography.
I’m glad that Party Rock popped up on shuffle today, because it sounds so unlike most boy group tracks of this current era. You’ve all heard me plead for the return of electro funk on multiple occasions. When the genre does pop up these days, it’s usually in fits and starts, surrounded by noisy EDM elements. But Party Rock lives within the early 2010’s heyday, when idols could get away with an upbeat dance track that doesn’t twist itself in a million directions, or succumb to incessant aegyo.
Party Rock employs a relentless kick, keeping its pulse high across the entire running time. It also uses tons of vocal effects, but they’re never over the top. In fact, I’d argue they add a much-appreciated texture to the track. It helps that the instrumental is equally buoyant, consisting of addictive electro squiggles and brushes of synth strings. But, Party Rock really comes alive during its final minute. The melody twists into something more anthemic, and segues into a nimble synth solo that heightens the already palpable funk. The percussion deepens for the final chorus, which feels extra big without resorting to the kind of tacked on, chanted finale so popular with K-pop songs of this style. This is the kind of track that sounds even better in hindsight than it did upon release.