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: 2013
Sometimes it takes a K-pop rookie a few comebacks before settling on their signature sound. VIXX debuted in 2012, and released two decent — if generic — singles. But, with the arrival of 2013’s excellent On And On, their hard-hitting, high concept electro pop began to pull into form. This set the stage for Hyde, which helped catapult them to superstardom. And with a song this strong, that boost in popularity was well-earned.
Here’s the thing about a track like Hyde. It has that dark, edgy angst coveted by so many boy groups. But, it’s still a blazing dance track, energetic and exciting. “Moody” doesn’t need to be synonymous with “dull.” “Edgy” doesn’t need to mean “noisy.” I wish more K-pop agencies would understand this.
Hyde thrives on its tense atmosphere. Its crunchy instrumental skitters this way and that, forward-moving but elusive in the most satisfying way. It comes together during the chorus, where slabs of synth give the track a hulking punch. This mirrors Hyde’s melody, which vacillates between drawn-out notes and slinkier bits of rhythm. In this way, much of the song feels like a call and response, with more robust refrains echoed by anxious, stream-of-conscious asides. This gives Hyde a refreshing spontaneity.
Even though the track is tightly structured, the melody feels as if it may swerve off the rails at any moment. Thankfully, that sledgehammer chorus anchors everything. Its trumpeting waves have a sound that’s almost celebratory, at odds with the darkness churning throughout the song. Contrast like this works so well when paired with a “dark” K-pop concept.