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: 2011
When it came time for Super Junior’s fifth album, the group was working toward the culmination of their “SJ Funky” period. The trilogy of Sorry Sorry, Bonamana and Mr. Simple forms a blueprint for this style, which is essentially a lighter-on-its-feet offshoot of SM’s SMP sub-genre. As with those previous songs, Mr. Simple is a Yoo Young-Jin composition, and feels every bit as adventurous and off-kilter as you’d expect.
I miss the days where K-pop’s biggest groups released material as unique as this. Like it or loathe it, you can’t say that Mr. Simple sounds like any other song that was internationally popular at the time. It bounds forward on a brittle funk beat, driven by swerving synths that have a harsh, angular appeal. The percussion is unyielding, sped to a frenzy and delivered with a militant single-mindedness. The vocal melody echoes this construction. It’s rhythmic to a fault, utilizing a clipped performance that gives the entire thing a rough-around-the-edges, unfinished quality.
And, rather than transition into something more laidback or effusive for its chorus, Mr. Simple doubles down on its jagged structure. I love the halting, chantlike nature of this hook. It has an otherworldly quality that’s very satisfying.
After a few well-placed breakdowns that inject some rhythmic variety, Mr. Simple finally opens up during its dramatic bridge. It’s a moment of earned vocal bombast, and veers into a final chorus that further drives home the track’s rhythmic uniformity. This is the perfect ending to one of Super Junior’s most exciting periods, and undoubtedly one of the quintessential K-pop tracks of its era.