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.