It’s been over two years since The Rose’s Kim Woosung released his first mini album, though he returned with digital single Lazy earlier this year. His material usually maintains an alternative edge while flirting with pop sounds. In a trendy but welcome shift, he’s put on his disco shoes and sparkly shirt to deliver the synthwave banger Dimples.
I often complain about K-pop’s overeager embrace of trends, and I’m sure there will come a time when this retro synth sound has worn out its welcome. But, I haven’t reached the point of oversaturation yet. Granted, this is one of my favorite genres so my tolerance may be higher than most listeners. What can I say? Give me a robust synth riff with resonant percussion and atmospheric drive, and the battle is already half-won.
With that said, Dimples is K-pop synthwave by the numbers. Its simple, ascending chorus feels predictable, though it matches the cathartic surge of the instrumental. A last-minute key change would have added some variety, especially on the heels of the fantastic bridge. However, Woosung’s performance forges a distinct identity for Dimples. I usually find his fluttery vocal style grating, but it adds needed character that pierces through the track’s generic leanings. And when it comes down to it, “generic” isn’t always a bad thing. I may see Dimple‘s post-chorus synth assault coming from a mile away, but it’s still ridiculously satisfying when it hits.
Great review! I personally really enjoy this song, it is a strong retro track, bounding with heavy energy.
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This is my test, isn’t it. Since I lived through the 80’s the first time around, I should know what retro this sounds just like.
I’m going to say it sounds like a non-promoted track by a lesser group off a mid-80’s movie soundtrack. Like from “Mannequin” or “Top Gun” or “Footloose”. The kind that falls on the (literal) b-side of the vinyl album as the 2nd or 3rd song.
Like this song off “Top Gun”, whoever this Marietta is.
Or whoever Karla Bonoff is or was from Footloose soundtrack
This wasn’t even hard, folks.
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i have a different take cause I wasn’t a soundtrack person back then – it sounds like a kind of mixture of Human League and mid-sellout era Scritti Politti with a tiny dash of Talk Talk. (I like SPs early sellout era – their uncommercial stuff is nigh unlistenable). But it has the right 80s feel.
Karla Bonoff is a pretty well-respected LA Asongwriter who made her bones having Linda Ronstadt cover three songs on an album. She also had a minor hit with a cover of Personally. That could have given her enough goodwill to end up on a big soundtrack album.
Scritti Politti and Talk Talk are names I haven’t heard in ages.
I am going to say: Yes! and Good to know!
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I’m hit-or-miss with synth-heavy retro stuff, but this was a hit. The vocal really ties it together for me. And I liked the MV, too.
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I must be the only one who cannot stand his vocals. I wish I liked his voice, but….
The song is tight though. What a pity.
No, I find the affectations very grating as well. But in this case, the song compensates and I actually think they add a bit of flair without going overboard.