Review

Song Review: Super Junior – House Party


Super Junior have titled their milestone tenth album “The Renaissance,” which conjures images of regality and refinement. To me, the group have always been more about amiable, self-deprecating personality, which makes the concept feel like an odd fit. But as far as I can tell, the title has little to do with the music itself, as evidenced by new single House Party.

Apparently, the arrangement of this track is the reason for The Renaissance’s many delays. It just wasn’t working. And, you have ask yourself: “if it took so much work to get this right, was it a good idea in the first place?” If Super Junior were to ask me (spoiler: they didn’t), my answer would be an exclamatory “NO!” It would probably also involve some dramatic arm flourishes and a follow-up interview just to make sure they didn’t end up going down this road despite warnings.

What I’m referencing, of course, is House Party’s misguided “trap” concept. It’s as if the group set out to make K-pop’s most egregious example of “ill-placed breakdown ruining a second verse.” You’ve heard me complain about these tempo-shifting breakdowns so often before, but rarely has a song actually been built around the idea.

House Party opens as a fun, brass-kissed funk pop track, the likes of which Super Junior have delivered many times before. It feels like a victory lap – not particularly notable, but a good time. The chorus is especially nice, as the splashy hook takes advantage of their layered vocals. The opening verse is largely spoken. I guess you can call it rap, but it feels more like Super Junior just being Super Junior.

Then, we hit that second verse. Everything seems to be cruising along swimmingly until House Party lurches into a different song entirely. This switch-up is poorly incorporated into the track. It shares no connective tissue with the instrumental surrounding it, resulting in a jarring pastiche of the trap genre. As its own song, this might have been fun (especially the electric guitar), but its presence here absolutely kills House Party’s momentum. The transition out of this segment (complete with the requisite “skrrt skrrt”) is just awful. And, it’s awfully disappointing, because the following chorus is really great. I eagerly await an edit — either fan-made or official — that streamlines House Party. As it stands, I’m not even sure how to review a song as sonically lopsided as this.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

33 thoughts on “Song Review: Super Junior – House Party

  1. just listened to the full album, call me easy to please but i like this track despite the track section hahaha. it’s strange but somehow it doesn’t bother me. i’m just hoping you have a buried treasure on this album because one track in particular was totally stunning

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  2. Know I’ll be in the minority and I totally get the disappointment but I like this even with the trap break because it’s not as jarring? I think this is mostly because the vocalists (and Yoo Young Jin) step up during this part so it sounds kinda good? I don’t know maybe I’m losing my mind LOL.

    The rest of the song is super fun and I love the whole party energy going on.

    PS. The 2021 version of U from today’s showcase saved my life. Maybe that’s why I’m in such a good mood towards this as well.

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  3. .

    Alright, OK, it IS the same song.

    I think they are mocking the current kpop scene, or as the Brits say taking the mickey out on us. That is my theory. Skrrt skrrt. Look, we are hiding from the virtual virus, dark clothes, dark theme. Hey, we can do the NCT sound too. Hey, we’ll go even better: we will have most of the non-rappers rapping, we will have Shindong revive his tik tok dances, Eunhyuk shoot Donghae with pink glitter, etc.

    For the rest of the song, the sound sounds like every wedding reception song every, viz Uptown Funk and Kool and the Gang Celebrate, the one you boogie along to with your drunk distant cousins, while the college kids do the electric slide with the old great-aunt with the zimmer frame, while the overtired flower girl twirls in her dress at the corner of the dance floor. Connoisseurs of the craft will recognize that the choreography is almost arena concert ready, because Super Junior may only perform this twice on the music shows with a small stage, but dozens and dozens of times in all the Super Shows yet to come.

    However, the lyrics are topical. I happened to have the closed caption clicked on. I hope the lyrics sound more lyrical in Korean, because the translation is really awkward.

    As for live showcase, they went the Shinee hybrid model. The softer songs are live with vocal background on the chorus ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQgi6TtPVo8 The louder songs are part-canned, part-highly post-production polished in the BTS style, but with new cans of cans as there is different mixed set of members than in the past.

    They even put a song called “Super” on the album, in the contemporary style “Naega something I’m the boss, Naega something I’m the Player”*, trying to reclaim their Super territory from Super M like it’s a musical game of Risk or Monopoly, but with tongue firmly in cheek. The joke is on the world. Super Junior now has Super Man, Super Girl, Super Duper, Super Clap, and now just plain Super in their oeuvre. (Really, no one knows why SM named the other group Super M when there is Super Junior and Super Junior M.)

    (*not the lyrics)

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    • The take that they may be mocking the k-pop scene softens my opinion on the trap break, if only a tiny little bit.

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      • That’s my story, and I am sticking with it.
        So here is the thing about Super Junior, they put out so much content, some of it quite good and some of it meh, that it is easy to just skip the meh.

        Just last week, this gem from an upcoming musical that Kyuhyun will be starring in was released. Phantom – not Phantom of the Opera, but a new one. I didn’t know who this soprano is, but she is my new favorite soprano.

        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx1evdmhtxs

        Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know how much of you actually believes that this is an intentional intellectual deconstruction of the genre but I’m glad it is working for you. This will probably be me after BTS have all completed their military service and they get back together as bulletproof ahjussis and put out music that I inevitably end up hating.

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      • There is this magic thing, its called the skip button. On the ipod Nano 7th, its a simple double click on the side button, and it skips to the next track. If I don’t like a song, I skip it. I have a couple hundred SuJu songs, plus another couple hundred solo and subunit songs. I don’t worry about one or two duds here and there.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My initial reaction: What. The. Hell. And it doesn’t really have so much to do with the trap, although that is jarring, but with the sentiment. One minute it’s fun and upbeat and the next we’re being scolded for not wearing masks and being told we’re being punished. Is this a song or a PSA? Yuck.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. On first listen I enjoyed the song: upbeat with a good chorus, even if the midway style shift is clumsy and doesn’t fit with the whole. On the second listen with captions on I began cackling and falling in love with it.

    Part of me doesn’t want the pandemic anywhere in my music: these days I want escapism. “House Party”, though, manages to be fun as hell while referencing the pandemic.

    Reading the lyrics for the first time, I felt like I was slowly getting in on an inside joke. And I’m more accepting of the sudden style shift to trap because they’re rapping about keeping one square meter apart. Maybe it’s cathartic for me to project my pandemic related frustration onto this trap section.

    I’m really pleased that SM and SuJu took this direction with the song. I know SuJu is often marketed to and beloved by South American fans, and considering how countries like Brazil are getting overwhelmed by the pandemic, the PSA in this song might help.

    The pandemic is stressful and depressing, but “House Party” managed to encourage me and make me laugh while addressing it, and for that I’m grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was having a blast with this…..until that trap breakdown kicked in.

    I think SM has an obsession with this style, they keep on taking the charming personalities of their groups and NCT-ifying them out of nowhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks SM, I hate it! At least SHINee (or more accurately: the producers of Don’t Call Me) committed to the bit. Shifting to trap in the middle of the song is so much worse to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t express how this song makes me feel without resorting to disrespectful language so I will just say it: it fills me with unreasonable rage.

    The start is very promising. It’s funky, there’s some brass in there, this is for me. The pandemic-related lyrics could be cringy, but it is Super Junior and they can pull this sort of thing off. I’m grooving, I’m having a good time, staying safe – when the House Party is abruptly broken up by a PSA in the form of a trap breakdown. Yeah. That’ll teach Karen to put her mask on.

    I like NCT songs. I don’t hate trap breakdowns. But please, keep the trap away from funky songs! The transition is so jarring that even Super Junior’s charisma cannot save this shift for me.

    I too am waiting for an edited version to pop up somewhere. Alternatively, re-reading the comments above may help me view the trap verse in a more positive way, and then maybe I’ll be able to enjoy the song without feeling the urge to punch a wall halfway in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I should always be more specific in my reviews when it comes to trap, because I think I’ve gotten a reputation for hating and dismissing the genre out of hand.

      To be clear, it’s not trap music that I dislike. It’s the inclusion of jarring breakdowns that have no connectivity with the rest of the song — usually during moments that are critical toward building a track’s momentum. If you want to do trap, do trap. That’s fine, and can be really great. Just, please please keep it out of songs that don’t warrant it. The combination rarely works in the context of K-pop.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. The first minute was incredibly fun then that breakdown killed the energy. I get the sentiment and message and props to them for being this bold.. I hate it though. I’d listen to a version without that section all day.

    Aside from that, this reminds me heavily of Celebrate by Jeff Williams and Mansion Party by NSP, two of my favorite songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m one of those who don’t mind the trap part and may actually like it.

    First, I was expecting something like this because of the teaser (so I didn’t have the element of surprise) and second, because, like the rest of the song, I’m sure it’s supposed to be fun and tongue-in-cheek. I mean: “Keep it mask with no mess up pleeeaaase”, “we absolutely need two hands to hold together” (from the official Youtube translation). And the change of music genre mirrors the apparent change in the lyrics tone.
    I was really glad to have the captions on when I first watched the MV, because if not, my reaction could have been different.

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  10. I actually like this a lot. Like said above, I feel that the trap breakdown is with a spirit of spoofing the music trends. No element seems too out of place, while Suju hold it together well. A confusing listen nonetheless, this is Suju doing Suju best.

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      • Same here, which is why I am so surprised I like this. I assume the fact that I saw everyone panning the trap rap made me better prepared.

        Still, I’d give it a score in the 7s too. It is just that I find the trap to be one of the ‘good’ things in the song.

        Perhaps, this was initially two different songs, combined into one for whatever reason. I’d love to see the trap segment as its own piece.

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    • I agree with you on this one. I expected worse. But it was tolerable and was actually better transitioned than other SM tracks. It wasn’t as jarring as I expected. To be honest, I really hate SM for being so sellout and obsessed with NCTfying everything. I really expected did to happen a few years ago. I wasn’t wrong.

      But Super Junior themselves saved the song. Thanks!

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  11. Groovy, layered vocals, and Super Junior go so well together, just wish this was something more. You were definitely right about the switch-up. While I don’t particularly dislike Super Junior trying out the (neverending) trap beat trend, everything seems so lost and it fails to give their rapper line anything good that’s not a basic, loud bass to squeeze in a verse or two. Still missing Black Suit era…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s trap breakdown and there’s trap…trip into the hell like this here. I wish i could say it’s experimental, but it just feels like they didn’t finish the song and have to plug the middle of it with another song.

    The funkier part is super fun too

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I’m an outlier here because I love this song. It’s true, the trap breakdown feels very disconnected from the rest of the song but I really enjoy the textures of its sounds – the dubstep growls and the electric guitar. I also really like how the M/V is filmed, it feels so goofy and energetic and I found the lyrics in the trap breakdown to be very amusing.

    My rating:

    Hooks: 9
    Production: 9
    Longevity: 8
    Bias: 9

    Rating: 8.75/10

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s the thing… I don’t think I’d mind the piecemeal nature of the song if it felt like everything was designed to be that way. I LOVE Rising Sun’s craziness, after all. But with this, the funk parts are so straightforward that it never feels as if that sudden genre shift is signposted or earned.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I loved this song too! I was surprised by the trap breakdown, but I liked how it shook up the song, and everything about the MV and the sound was so fun that i couldn’t help but enjoy it.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Thought back to the comments the other day saying that the two different sections of this song, including the trap one, heard from the teasers could not possibly belong to the same track…and made an ugly laughing sound when I heard this. Between the COVID PSA, that trap section, and the rest of this, which is pretty funky and groovy, I have absolutely no idea what is going on here. That said, even with the trap section I’m okay with this, although that’s probably because I wasn’t waiting with bated breath for Super Junior to come back, so I’m not disappointed. Even without the trap section, the song’s fine for me – a good fine, but nothing exceptional, so it didn’t ruin much. It’s so goddamn weird, at least it made me laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Usually I don’t like trap or songs with breaks like this, but I liked this one which was a surprise. I’m probably too biased to judge a Super Junior song, I think 😅
    I still think Burn the Floor would be a better title song and Closer and Mystery are better than House Party

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