In a year without many excellent debuts, Mirae’s Killa easily stands at the top of the pack. The guys emerged with a fully-realized futuristic sound that complimented their group name and showcased their skills. They did exactly what a good rookie is supposed to: invite listeners into their world and make a convincing claim as to why they’re a vital part of K-pop’s overburdened landscape. I guess DSP Media disagreed, because every bit of that unique identity has been stripped away for the ultra-generic Splash.
My worry around this song began with its tracklist credits. Gone are interesting producers like TAK and Alawn, replaced by familiar production-teams-for-hire. Joombas’s musical output, in particular, has only grown more faceless with time. And unfortunately, Splash could have been peddled by any boy group with similar results. It’s plug-and-play K-pop – competent but unexciting.
This sucks for Mirae, who seemed so assured in their image earlier this year. Splash is *fine* in the way that a lot of K-pop is *fine.* It ticks the expected boxes, harnessing that heavy, fitful percussion often described as “plodding” on this blog. The rap is brash and impassioned, yet follows a familiar flow. The chorus lurches here and there. It’s not particularly catchy or melodic, but the guys perform it well. Twinkles of synth are buried in the lumbering mix, as if the track is actively trying to stamp out any touch of originality. Only a few months ago, Killa’s lyrics promised “sharp,” “splendid” music. Sadly, Splash is closer to “dull” and “undistinguished.”