Song Review: BAE173 – Loved You

BAE173 - Loved YouBAE173 debuted late last year with the fun funk pop of Crush On U. Like almost every boy group in K-pop history, darker, edgier waters surely lie before them. You can already feel a bit of that “maturity” poking through on new single Loved You (사랑했다). But, if the guys are going to bring the angst, this is the way to do it. Loved You is so 2013 it hurts.

When I say a song throws back to sounds from earlier K-pop generations, that statement is usually qualified with a big: “but, this is immediately followed by an EDM drop/trap breakdown/tropical flourish.” This is not the case with Loved You. If you were to tell me this song was written and recorded seven or eight years ago, I would totally believe you. Much of this falls upon producers Duble Sidekick, who were reliable hitmakers during that era. BAE173’s management was smart to bring them on board. They cut through Loved You’s more generic leanings with a sharp melody and no-nonsense arrangement. The song is relentlessly straightforward, which may sound like a criticism. But, the fact that its surging energy is allowed to build uninterrupted is quite satisfying.

If anything, I long for a more dynamic performance. Loved You so badly wants to be Crooked, but lacks the character that makes that song transcendent. Still, I’ll take a Crooked rip-off any day of the week. The instrumental’s descending synth riff forges a galvanizing centerpiece that the entire song revolves around, while a touch of strummed guitar brings us back to the ground. I’ve enjoyed Loved You more with each listen, and that’s a very good sign.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


34 thoughts on “Song Review: BAE173 – Loved You

      • One more question, How are you feeling about April so far?
        I loved it so far! We are only eight days in and we already have three songs in contention for Top Song of the month, and we haven’t even made it to the one-two punch of SHINee and ONF repackages!

        Liked by 1 person

        • To be honest, I’m feeling great about this year as a whole. It feels like K-pop’s moving in a really strong direction, and April is just a continuation of that!

          My curiosity around ONF’s repackage is off the charts. I’m so eager to hear what genre they’re tackling. The concept has me thinking Blade Runner synthwave, with inspiration from The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights. But, that’s just me projecting 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

  1. Alright, I’ll say it. You say “Crooked”, I say “(I Hate this) Love Song”.

    The song itself isn’t bad but it could use a helluva lot better performance. Yes, I know this group are literally teenagers, but just saying the missing element here are better vocals and charisma.

    The song itself sounds like Big Bang. Like a cover of a long lost Big Bang song. Really. I know we are all nostalgic for a Big Bang comeback, and this makes me extra nostalgic. The first line would start with a TOP and GD tag team on those low notes. The low notes on this version are so horribly processed. They need a deep authentic baritone timbre like TOP doing his occasional sung lines. Then Daesung on the prechorus tag teaming with Taeyang. The chorus sung as a chorus, with the mix highlighting in turn GD then Taeyang then Daesung. The second verse rap would be an octave lower with TOP again. And etc.

    Big Bang song in disguise. I’ll wait for the real deal.

    Liked by 3 people

    • DRIPPIN showcased this soaring chorus much better in my opinion in their very, very incredible b-side Reach Out Your Hands. Or like I said in my comment, ATEEZ and Bigbang’s raucous, dynamic performance could have elevated it a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whew, I’m glad you liked this as much as myself! I was so surprised by how “throwback kpop” this sounds and the fact that it doesn’t actually give in to modern trends in the end like you mentioned. Also their voices go nicely with this?

    I’ve been seeing everyone say it sounds like BigBang and I have to agree. Considering it’s been long overdue for that BB comeback, I’ll take this for now lol.


  3. Now this song is just incredible! Amazing melody, amazing instrumental and I really love the surging energy here, It all builds back to that brilliant, anthemic chorus! It soars with a sense of freedom but at the time, feels so emotional.
    I am talking a lot about DRIPPIN’s excellent b-side Reach Out Your Hands today, but I just can’t help it. Loved You’s instrumental choices are more straightforward but I love that their utilized for maximum effect. I think the music video also helps with that, really love the story line. This sounds like the long, overdue Bigbang comeback or the sound I wanted ATEEZ to comeback with, they can definitely elevate it with their dynamic, raucous tones.

    Anyways! I need not talk about other groups because BAE173 are officially in my radar!


  4. This day has been a great one for K-pop overall, two blockbuster comebacks and we are finally welcoming back B1A4’s Jinyoung!


  5. This song is just alright to me. It’s not dynamic enough to really hold my attention, I guess. The MV also threw me off. It seems at odds with the bouncy energy of the song. It’s very similar to BTS “run” concept but with a bad CGI jaguar dream sequence included….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Even after I saw you and commenters mention Big Bang, I was still not prepared for how Big Bang this actually sounds. As always, a similar sound can be both a strength and a weakness.

    On the one hand, this 2013 sound is one I’ve missed dearly. It makes me feel nostalgic for the era when I joined kpop. I really, really like this song.
    On the other hand, the immense similarity to such an iconic group and era sets this track up for a tough comparison. It’s a comparison that almost any group is bound to lose.

    In the end though, it is still a good song. I also loved Crush On U, so I suppose this means BAE173 is officially on my radar (if I can remember that name).


    • “Their name is an acronym for “Before Anyone Else” and includes the number 1 for perfection and the lucky number 73.”

      Finding an easy name to remember ? No, we want something deep and meaningful !!

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are worse names (one favorite being “Drug Restaurant”), but all these acronyms are impossible to remember, both the acronym and especially what the acronym is supposed to mean.


          • “Dickpunks” is a great best worst name, but not for that group. If they were actually punk rock, like Sex Pistols punk, the name would be great. But they are pretty far from being punk. “Drug Restaurant” would be a good punk name too.


            • I think “Dickpunk” could be a great alternative name for G-dragon. That’s mainly because of how he acts in Crooked.


  7. Totally off topic, but I think this Eurovision song from Iceland needs more people checking it out. I also know a lot of people on this blog love some kitschy, fun, and funky beats, and also some have followed Eurovison (Nick introduced me to it). Add some theatrical choirs, violins, and some sci-fi synths, and we have a stand-out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m into Ukraine, San Marino, Lithuania, Italy and Iceland this year. All very different vibes (in the spirit of Eurovision then!). I don’t think any of them will win but I reckon at least Italy and Iceland could sneak a top ten and hopefully Lithuania too since they got snatched from a win last year (its the same group and their song was super popular but it’s not allowed for this year so they are entering a new one).


      • I think Think About Things had a better chance than On Fire, but my subjective preference may have played a role in that.

        Most of my favorite Eurovision tracks this year failed to make it into the actual competition. Dotter got eliminated (again), KEiiNO were robbed, and Eden Alene unnecessarily remixed her song.

        Curious: Who do you think is in the lead to win?


        • Honestly Switzerland probably has the best chance, along with Malta. I don’t necessarily like these songs that much, but they have a certain appeal to others. Malta is basically a Netta 2.0 but a bit less kitsch and Switzerland is what I’d describe as “deep meaningful ballad but modern”. I would be very shocked if either of these aren’t top 5.


      • Hello! Thank you for introducing me to this gem 🙂 It has that nostalgic vibe that I’ve missed from older kpop. And like other comments have mentioned, it does scream Big Bang, although I hear Sober more than Love Song. I do miss Big Bang’s music and their unique vocal/rap dynamic, but I don’t think they’ll be releasing new music anytime soon. I’m not of the age to obsess over views, but it was a sad moment when I realized that this MV had fewer views than this same group’s dance cover of more popular music, despite the latter being released more recently.

        This is my first time commenting but I’ve been reading your reviews from a couple of years back! I have no idea how you manage to break down songs and describe them in such detail, but I have certainly enjoyed reading your reviews. And ever since I’ve stopped following K-Pop closely, this blog has been my source for discovering less popular but fantastic songs like this! I think I can credit you with many songs on my Spotify playlist right now lol 🙂 I wouldn’t have known ONF and Golden Child even existed without this blog, so I’m glad I didn’t miss out on that.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. So since I’m a bit new to K-POP, I don’t get many Bigbang references! Does anybody have recommendations on what to listen to? (I’ve heard Crooked by G-Dragon and that’s pretty much it!)

    On this song however, I quite like it and I think I’ll listen to it for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

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