Trot music doesn’t often pop up on this blog, despite the genre being a huge part of the Korean music industry. Some artists cross over and blend trot with more typically “K-pop” aspects, such as Hong Jinyoung. Others don’t perform on weekly music shows at all. It’s rare for an idol to make a debut with trot music, but Astro’s MJ already has connections within the genre. Being the “mood-maker” of his group, this exuberant sound also feels well-suited to his personality.
Debut solo single Get Set Yo (계세요) blurs the line between trot and straight-up funk pop. It would be a blast at a party or festival, and delivers a strong shot of energy. The whole package comes a little too close to novelty for my taste, but it’s delightful to hear a soloist emerge with such an upbeat sound.
MJ enlists trot singer Kim Taeyeon for a brief addition that’s sure to snag credibility within the genre. Other than that, this is the MJ show and he fuels the track with buckets of personality. As expected, the vocal thrives on affectations. But, it’s not as broad a performance as it could have been. That’s an asset that makes Get Set Yo feel unique to MJ rather than some gimmicky comedy track. I appreciate the robust instrumental – particularly when electric guitar joins the party. And while the chorus becomes a bit repetitive after too long, its bounding enthusiasm is hard to resist. More than anything, Get Set Yo finds a successful template to blend the trot and pop worlds together. Maybe we should call it “trop?”