Song Review: Chancellor – Midnight (ft. Gaeko)

Chancellor - Midnight (ft. Gaeko)
Growing up, the Jackson family (specifically Janet and Michael) were my pop star archetypes. This probably explains my current taste in music, as well as my initial fascination with K-pop. So much of the industry’s sound and spectacle draws influence from the Jacksons – sometimes even more so than Western music markets. And when idols and performers emulate the soulful, rhythmic vocal style that built the Jackson empire, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Chancellor often sounds like Michael Jackson, and his new song Midnight takes great influence from MJ’s late-70’s Off The Wall period. Hearing just a few seconds of the song preview, I already knew I’d enjoy it. I’m almost hardwired to love this kind of vocal and beat. And with “retro” in full swing right now, it’s about time we pull from the King of Pop’s repertoire.

Midnight is incredibly smooth, finding its sticky groove and bounding along that rhythm until the song has ended. Apart from a catchy vocoder (talkbox?) refrain and a few sweeps of strings, the instrumental remains steady. But, the beat is so satisfying that Midnight never succumbs to monotony. Chancellor sounds great on the dramatic chorus, his sky-high vocals as smooth as butter. The standout bridge harnesses a great sense of glide, teasing us toward the clap-along finale. Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko is a welcome presence during the second verse, though I find his flow surprisingly jarring when paired with the production. A shorter verse might have tightened things up a bit, but I can’t complain too much when a song is this well-calibrated to my own sense of nostalgia.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


9 thoughts on “Song Review: Chancellor – Midnight (ft. Gaeko)

  1. Yes, this one scratches the retro itch quite nicely. It also helps that it is a good song, not just a pastiche that grabs the Weeknd soft synth sound du jour and slaps it over some other melody to be trendy. It also feels very JYP retro at the same time, so that makes it both old school funk and kpop. If this were in English, the Funk Friday radio guy might have included it in his mashups.

    Speaking of MJ. He has fallen out of favor in the US, and except for the Off the Wall era, he really isn’t covered much these days. But the Koreans still love it all. (Forestella cover one of his every year, this year being Smooth Criminal ‘
    ‘ )

    Speaking of MJ, it seems we will be seeing the Korean military singers a lot, as they have a daebak trifecta of Taemin plus Sungjae of BToB and Ricky of Teentop, all at the same time. It harkens back to when Donghae, Siwon, and Max Changmin were all in the Seoul police performance unit and we were gifted with performances every other week. Anyway, Taemin is right of center, Sungjae of BToB is at far left, and Ricky of Teentop is 3rd from left (he sings second on Heal the World). Arguably, Sungjae may have outsung Taemin here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MJ has fallen out of favor on radio and the press, but there are still tons of people who enjoy his music. But it’s weirdly like a huge cult now except for Off the Wall and Thriller. Still a lot of people but not the way it was in the 70s and 80s.

      I think the MJ sound in Kpop has drawn a lot of US listeners who still enjoy his music. Every time my husband hears a mid-period SHINee song, he’s saying “this sounds like MJ! Is that on purpose? The singing is great, though.”

      More reviews. Taemin’s Advice. “I like the sing-songy rap. That and the piano makes it sounds like a kid’s song. The fashion is terrible, but the dancing is great. It’s like MJ turned up to 12.”

      Criminal: “The video is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Saw. I like this better than the spider song [Hoshi’s Spider]. He really likes Michael Jackson doesn’t he?”
      Me: “Well, they call him the Michael Jackson of Korea.”
      “That explains a lot.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yeah, the MJ is strong in this one. I like it. Too much falsetto can turn me off of a song real quick, but it works here. And I like how the funky beat continues under Gaeko’s verse along with the ad libs – rap verses don’t have to kill all the momentum of a song after all! I kind of wish there was a sax in the outro, though. Some solid b-sides of the R&B and ballad variety here, too. Don’t listen to “Runaway with me” without a lighter handy for the guitar solo.

    Liked by 1 person

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