Song Review: Mirae – Killa

While I cover just about every major K-pop release on The Bias List, there are naturally those that I look forward to more than others. And, I’ve been really curious to hear Mirae’s debut. Their opening teaser caught my attention, and I love that their Korean name translates to “Future Boys.” I just want to pair them up with Cosmic Girls for some campy sci-fi adventure. I always say that rookies should debut with a “signature sound,” and it seems that Mirae have already found theirs with the exciting Killa.

This track deftly combines the swaggering intensity that’s required of boy groups these days with a funkier instrumental that feels like a spiritual successor to NCT’s Superhuman. Killa hits like a sledgehammer, powered by abrasive electronic textures forged into a jerky rhythm. Yet, the percussion is so insistent that the track never feels overly heavy. I’m surprised at how much rap dominates the verses, and wonder if a few more jolts of melody might have improved the overall effect. But – and excuse the obvious wordplay here – Killa’s chorus is killer.

Yes, I could do without the incessant shouting, but that barreling hook combined with the gritty electro arrangement has a way of sweeping you off your feet. I’m even more pleased with the song’s final minute. Killa climaxes with a blistering bridge. Electric guitar, power vocals, warped EDM breakdown – it’s the kind of over-the-top bombast that characterized so much of the industry’s second generation. It’s delightful to hear a rookie swing for the rafters in this way. Mirae still have a ways to go, and Killa has its occasional stumbling blocks, but this is a really strong debut.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

35 thoughts on “Song Review: Mirae – Killa

  1. Yes! I was right that I didn’t need to worry if you were not going to like it because that electric guitar hook was already enough for it to get a 9. It was just amazing that Killa is a debut and MIRAE is starting very, very strong.

    More power to MIRAE and I hope they continue this amazing job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did I win my own little personal bet, did Nick write the word “propulsive”? Oh no, not today.

    As much as we malign the current SM NCT-SuperM sound, some of it great, some of it ill-advised, it sure is influential. This song is now the latest re-incarnation.

    … at this point, I don’t know how many songs that sound like this I need in my life. I like some, I love a few more, I flove 1 or 2, but I don’t need to hear twenty of them.

    SM would have going slightly more upscale, adding in interesting diminishes and 7ths and 9ths to the chords, such as 2:49 there would have been more more there. He’s belting an A4, and its pretty good, and in the background someone adds a D5, and its alright, but SM would find someone to belt the D5, and then add more like the crazy chords in Superhuman.

    I think they did a good job here making a song and performance as a debut that is on par with one of the top four agencies, but I am ready for new sounds and concepts not This Year’s version of ____.

    Related: DiscountSeung/Xiumin helpfully shared the edit we all were asking for ‘ Its like a completely different song.
    SuJu will rework it, we just have to wait and see. They have three or four versions of Black Suit, two of Miracle, two or three of Bonamano, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Funny to see I’m not the only one who listens to a song and thinks ‘Nick would call this ‘propulsive”. I really don’t see so much similarity with NCT, though. It has some of the typical SM sound but it’s not thAt similar, right?

      Thanks for sharing the link here – I thought people may have missed it. I had no idea Super Junior did different versions of songs! In that case I hope to see an official House Party (Without Skkrt Skrrt Ver) appear soon.

      Also funny to see my old name remembered – I feel very seen (and a little hypocritical for not being the loyal Xiumin fan I portrayed myself to be).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Black Suit – Well, why, yes! To be fair the chorus is usually the same, but there are differences around the edges.

        The “original” version ‘

        The song and choreo can have anywhere from 5 to 9 members, with part swaps required for such, including with/without Heechul versions.
        High member example is just earlier this week ?v=nnzVj2mLeXg
        The slow and dramatic first verse version ?v=MlVnZ8A3img – this one is also the version with the tinkling D vs E dance off break, which in other versions is just E solo dance
        The piano intro by Ryeowook version (surprisingly good, and yes its him) ?v=GBJMHg-hWqw with Eunhyuk-only piano dance break and Ryeowook playing again
        The electric guitar – symphonic violin verses version with/without Heechul ?v=V76C2aMytho ?v=wZvOjTzh2OU

        This is also why I have no sympathy for fandoms whining about groups going through military service losing and adding back members. They just have to make it work.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Their name makes me think of Yoon Mi-rae, which is quite a lot to live up to. Anyway, this song is really good – very reminiscent of “Superhuman,” yes, but not in a way that feels derivative or bad. It doesn’t invite comparison so much as make me appreciate how good the song is. I like the rap, the EDM breakdown – love the electric guitar and the chorus. This doesn’t feel like a debut to me, (although I have and do enjoy bright, upbeat, safe debuts which are just as good, if not better, than “Killa.” I still regularly listen to TXT’s “Crown”).

    I do find it amusing how much SM and NCT have influenced the current K-pop landscape, sonically as well as aesthetics-wise (the whole robot/AI thing, although that predates aespa and NCT), for better and for worse. I remember when NCT debuted and everyone, including me, was ragging on the endless rotation of members and the whole “Neo Culture Technology” thing that even the guys couldn’t remember their name stood for. And yet, the Big 3 finds a way of making it work, or makes a way. I only wish they’d use their power for good, and influence the creation of more songs like “Killa.” Please, SM, more NCT songs of “Superhuman” and “Baby Don’t Stop”‘s caliber that sound both unique and futuristic/modern but aren’t too try-hard and edgy—and less of whatever the hell happened with that Japanese release in February.

    Anyway, this is a very promising debut for MIRAE, and definitely a beacon of hope that DSP desperately needs but does not deserve, what with everything that’s going down with April and Kard right now. Well, you can’t spell “desperate” without D, S, P.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I think the track does well as the sound that it was aiming for – that NCT sound-alike. I am just tired though of these influences and hope to see a new trend now…


    • I don’t know…. I obviously hear the Superhuman influence, but this song doesn’t sound like any other NCT track to me, nor does it sound like many boy group titles that have been released in the past few years.

      It has a much funkier energy and its electro textures feel way different from this era’s trendier synth loops. Could just be me, though.

      Liked by 6 people

  5. I really like this song and find it to be a very impressive debut, and I’m not sure if you were aware but this group also contains an ex-X1 member, Dongpyo, and it will enjoy a small bump in popularity from that. That being said, I’m conflicted about supporting any group coming out of DSP after the recent April/Hyunjoo scandal, which I found to be really disturbing. They seem to have enabled abuse against her and are literally in the process of suing their own artist (Hyunjoo was still with the company). For me, DSP as a company gets like an F- at this point. I wish the boys themselves success, of course. Just wish it didn’t have to happen under DSP. Defrauding Suckers Personally. Defaming Successful People. Downgrading Someone’s Potential. Dongpyo, Signal if you need help Please…..

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Oh I am here for this. The first words that popped into my mind when I started listening to it was Daft Punk. Now I haven’t really gone out of my way to listen to them beyond the songs that are forever ingrained in my childhood so I’m not the best person to make this comparison but I think I do hear an influence (but also you can’t really have an EDM song without Daft Punk influence). It got me dancing around a little in my seat so that’s additional points. Any song that makes me dance I’m here for.
    Loving the cyberpunk aesthetic, though. It seems to be a style more groups are leaning towards in their mvs. In this year alone we got Odd Eye, Beautiful Beautiful, and now this (there were probably more but those are the three that come to mind) and I am not complaining.

    Liked by 3 people

    • YES! Loving the prevalence of sci-fi imagery in mvs these days. BDC recently leaned into it too.

      I can definitely hear Discovery-era Daft Punk influences in the production here. Their name hadn’t come to my mind yet, but I think it’s a great comparison.

      Liked by 3 people

    • My mind went to Daft Punk, too! Not just the opening but also the the production throughout the chorus. And that’s a very good thing to me – I love almost everything Daft Punk have done.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I like this, but it doesn’t make my heart sing. I think it’s well-done. They’re talented and polished. Gosh, they’re so polished it’s hard to believe this is a debut. I’ll be interested to see what else they do.


  8. What a knockout of a debut! I personally wasn’t reminded of NCT, instead (like a commenter above) what instantly came to mind for me was Daft Punk (specifically: “”).

    The chorus hits the sweet spot for me. I love the brisk tempo of the beat. Shoutout to the rapper (the one around 2:19), he delivers the lines well. Raps usually don’t stand out to me but there’s parts here that I actively enjoy. Can’t wait to see where these guys go!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Pairing the Alawn & Andy Love power duo with Tak is VERY SM hahahaha. So yeah I am getting a lot of 100 and Superhuman but I also a little of that “not big 3” vibe from it all- which I really love. It’s a fun affair, top-bottom.

    Great song, I feel like this is a fun rookie moment to witness and they’re doing exactly right. Doin’ it their own way, loudly.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Both Superhuman and KILLA were composed and arranged by TAK, working alongside other contributors. He also helped compose/arrange the mini-album’s opening track We Are Future.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I kept my eyes glued to the screen throughout the whole song, which is something that rarely happens to me. For some reason, I feel that the song is very familiar. It’s like Gen 2 music but not exactly… Weird…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Now, this was a debut I was really looking forward to. The vocals are strong and I absolutely love the electronic textures. The mini-album is quite strong too and filled with electronic influences.

    The drop of ‘Higher’ is really interesting. And ‘Swagger’ reminds me of ‘The tortoise and the hare’ by skz. The beat sounds similar. ‘We are future’ sounds like the rough demo version of killa. ‘1 thing’ tackles house. Overall, a strong EP.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Why has K-pop been so good lately? Breathe? Beautiful Beautiful? Lose? and now this! I have really been loving the amount of treasures we have been getting!

    This is absolutely amazing to me, I love the sci-fi imagery and I adore their performance. I hope there will be more of these added jolt of melodies!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. As soon as the song started I got Superhuman vibes, especially the harmonies in the back and how they sang “KILLA” reminded me of the “yeahhhh”s in Superhuman. And seeing as Superhuman is my favorite 127 title track I really enjoy Killa. I’ve also loved Dongpyo since watching Produce so I’m excited to see what Mirae do in the future. I’m also just glad that it isn’t that terribly 2D dark concept that boy groups have been debuting with recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t know why I’m obsessed with this song now, but I relistened and now I’m in the right mindset to just really absorb how good this song was. I mean, the Superhuman comparison is not wrong, but I love that song too.

    Liked by 1 person

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