Review

Song Review: Great Guys – Touch By Touch

GreatGuys - Touch By TouchThough I didn’t love BTS’s Dynamite as much as others seemed to, I have to thank it for helping reinvigorate K-pop’s interest in bright, disco-inspired songs. Groups are starting to ditch their dark, harness-heavy costumes for pastel suits, bringing a greater sense of balance to the boy group ecosphere. Great Guys’ new single Touch By Touch clearly draws inspiration from Dynamite’s funky energy, but I find it to be an even more satisfying song.

The music video embedded below uses the track’s English version, but I’ll be ditching that in favor of the Korean recording. The English is just too distracting, and I find myself spending more time trying to discern the lyrics than enjoying the groove. That issue aside, this is my kind of frothy dance track. The synths are so bright they’re gleaming, the brass section is exuberant, and icy strings tug on the instrumental just in case it gets any crazy inclination to slow its brisk tempo.

Touch By Touch’s melody echoes this sense of carefree glee. I love the interplay of its chorus, opening with a playful, descending melody before punching back with the rhythmic “touch by touch” hook. I could do without the cutesy exclamations that pop up here and there, but otherwise the structure is streamlined and spry. A song like this doesn’t feel particularly momentous – especially stacked against comebacks that opt for more dynamic arrangements – but it’s hard not to smile when every element is so giddy and eager to please.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

**EDIT: There’s now an mv for the Korean version! I’m embedding that one first, with the English below:

18 thoughts on “Song Review: Great Guys – Touch By Touch

  1. Will you count this in your 2021 Year-of-End List?

    Anyways, I really love the song. The instrumentation reminds me something Seventeen would produce but I think the guys would have given a much bigger performance but that is not to take credit away from Great Guys, I really love their carefree nature. More of this please!

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  2. I guess Touch By Touch should also be elegible for the most hilarious and cheap Dynamite parody of the last (and maybe the next) 10 months. This is the first case where they ape not just the sound, the visuals and the choreo, but even the lyrics and the “english only” approach (in the b-side). If someone told me this joke would exist *for real* someday, I would have never believed it.
    And of course I would have never believed it that it could deserve a better rating than the original itself, but I understand they must be encouraged to make us laugh this loud again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair, BTS’s dynamite is kind of like a rip off too. I think I like this better because Great Guys discography is more scattershot, I don’t know their signature sound nor do I know their music personally. BTS on the other hand, I know their music, I know their signature sound and everything. That’s why I love Boy With Luv so much, It felt like a better encapsulation of their charms. Dynamite on the other hand, didn’t sound too much like them….

      Also, one other reason to prefer Touch is because [less vocal processing].

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  3. This is fun – bright and sunny and infinitely better than anything else I’ve heard from them. With regard to the MV, I feel like I’m watching an odd mashup of TxT, BTS, and CIX (what’s with the newsie outfits?). I like all three, so I guess that’s fine.

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    • Like I said earlier, the song reminds me so much of Seventeen, I think the guys would have arranged it much, much better or performed it with more aplomb but Great Guys do a *great* job!

      Regarding the music video, I think your spot on! I can See TXT, BTS and CIX mashup!

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  4. Ah yes, Great Guys, the Partridge family people. (one of the their old album pics looks so 70’s)

    This is a good move by Great Guys, even if it sounds like the latest copycat of BTS Dynamite vibe. Even the vocal parts are handed out to mimic the same roles – here is the Jimin-style part, and now Jungkook, and now RM and Suga, and etc. It starts from the first lines with the high opening falsetto followed by an even higher line, like hey we can do that too.

    I think I like it better than others because, as other comments here say, it is missing the heavy vocal processing. Its a good vocal but not outstanding – they still use a lot of vocal fry which I think they think adds character but really it just dates it and puts them firmly in the boy band-style rather than be one for the ages.

    Also the English lyrics are a higher ranking than others = so bland as to be inoffensive. At times delivered in such a soft whisper, one can barely notice they are in English. No chocolate cheeks or chocolate wings or medicine on a ball here.

    That said, this is not the kind of song I buy, because it sounds like music I hear in the air at the grocery store and Target and the pool and such. It isn’t special (to me).

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    • For the record, this is my own humble ranking. This song alternates between 3-Unintelligible and 7-Bland for an average of about 5 or so. Dynamite gets dragged down to around 6 to 7 average by the word salad verses scoring a lot of 8’s.

      1 Intelligible English good lyrics that rhyme
      2 Intelligible English good lyrics
      3 Unintelligible English of any quality lyrics
      4 A single lyric line that is so craptastic it is great
      5 Mispronounced but decent lyrics
      6 Cringey but campy lyrics
      7 Oh so bland lyrics
      8 Really, What does that mean lyrics
      9 A single word said over over like that will make it mean something
      10 Well-pronounced lousy lyrics

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      • Dynamite is definitely very 8-heavy. It’s like generic lyrics, but worse because it sends me into a futile overthinking spiral to understand what on earth they mean. What kind of medicine does RM have? And why must I keep my eyes on a ball? I also cringed physically at reading the chocolate cheeks and wings line again. I don’t know who was responsible for that line, but I hope they won’t be responsible for any more lines.

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        • I know. The verses of Dynamite are trying to be like a list song, but it just doesn’t work, first verse of course being list of words that rhyme with “on” or “ong”, second verse of things that sound … um …. ah … cool? I don’t know. I really don’t know what the intent of the second verse is.

          Classic list songs
          REM “Its the end of the world” ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0GFRcFm-aY
          Sondheim / Gypsy “Mr Goldstone” ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS5OFXwhaAc The internal rhyming in here is the best ever.

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        • This Dylan song is also a classic list song, which everyone should know. The video has been often copied.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxjIBEZvx0

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          • I had no idea that a thing such as a ‘list song’ existed but having listened to those, it makes sense. The more you know!

            Speaking of classics (or insert any other forced transition here), I have gone down a rabbit hole into the world of late 70’s – 80’s bands and I am loving it. I was wondering if you happen to have recommendations. If so, I would gladly check them out. If not, no worries!

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            • The late 70’s and early 80’s were an interesting transition time for rock. The big 70’s band were mostly still around but waning in influence, punk rock came along, and the electronic synthesizers were becoming more sophisticated to enable the very beginnings of the New Wave.

              Mostly what I suggest below are from the collections of my older brother and sister resonating through their bedroom walls. Also MTV, since we had bootleg MTV from the very start.

              Hyungim’s collection: Early U2! These days, it seems U2 has always been big. Back in the early 80’s they debuted with a novel intersection of elemental-nature-Christian-Troubles lyrical content, fronted by a fearless charismatic evangelist. My brother wore out the album from this Red Rocks concert – This is Gloria ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBODktZLQuI My favorite might be Electrico – the sharp shock verses are so different from songs today which can be so wordy. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmmQYKgjkQk This is a far different sort of putting everything out there on the stage – in this concert they are about the same ages as Ateez and Stray Kids are today.

              Unnie’s collection: The Police only existed 1977-mid 80’s sometime when Sting went off to his solo career. Synchronicity I is a literal list song about Jung’s philosophy and would make an excellent study guide, much better than BTS’s watered down versions. Stewart Copeland is in fine form here. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si5CSpUCDGY Also on this album “Synchronicity II” is a humiliating kick in the crotch, to quote the lyrics, and “King of Pain” is an extremely popular song despite never being separately released. This album cover is one of the first to use deliberately alt album cover versions. Now, no one back then actually bought all the versions like they do today in kpop, it was more of a curiosity of seeing which ones you and your friends got.

              Peter Gabriel “Biko” is a formative work for the 80’s re-incarnation of the protest movement, with that decade’s particular focus on Africa. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luVpsM3YAgw Xeno is particularly fond of early Genesis – Peter Gabriel era with their long form songs and elaborate theming.

              Finally, speaking of Genesis, this song has been my go to comfort song for a while this past year, when I am not fangirling to Forestella. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2Iv8EkqEsk

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              • Very interesting! Thank you for the recommendations plus context – I thought you would know some stuff. I like both U2 songs. Crazy that I never listened to anything by them because they are so well-known. I was familiar with a few songs by The Police, but not these ones yet so, thank you. That last Genesis song is definitely nice, I can see how that’s a comfort song. Out of all these the Peter Gabriel song is not for me – though I respect the idea.

                I feel like overall I gravitate to the more poppy songs by these bands. I don’t like admitting this, because a lot of those songs sound similar and seem to be more simple and repetitive than their other material. Who knows though, maybe I’ll develop more appreciation for the genre as I listen to more songs.

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  5. I never listened to Dynamite that much, though I remember bits and pieces of it. The vocal processing turned me off instantly. This song has better vocals and I actually really like it in many places. So it’s automatically better than Dynamite I suppose. It doesn’t sound like a rip-off, but that’s probably because I never cared for the original.

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