K-Pop debuts can be tricky things. At times, they’re the best song a group delivers. Sometimes, they’re the only song a group delivers!
But, debuts can also be huge wtf moments in an artist’s career. In this feature, I’ll be looking back at debut songs through the prism of time, re-evaluating how well they hold up and how representative they are of an artist’s eventual singles run.
Debut Date: March 15, 2012
It’s amazing how much K-pop has changed in less than a decade. But then again, pop music trends worldwide have shifted during that same time. Back in 2012, tastes favored high-energy EDM. The charts were stuffed with huge choruses and bounding instrumentals. I loved this era, along with many of the groups who debuted during this time.
Right off the bat, Nu’est were pitched as one of 2012’s biggest debuts. Alongside EXO and B.A.P, they formed a sort of power triad. And, all three acts entered the industry with killer songs. Over the years, Nu’est’s sound and career has undergone the most changes. Their early work feels less specific to the ‘Pledis house style’ and more in line with K-pop trends of the moment. In other words, it can be a little hit or miss. But, their first few years of albums are stuffed with great material.
Face is powered by a catchy synth loop and chugging dance beat. These elements support a memorable melody, which feels consistent from verse to chorus. I like how intentional the structure feels. Beyond a weird dubstep breakdown (all the rage in 2012!), there’s really no musical fat on these bones. The verses lean heavily toward falsetto, contrasting the hardness of the instrumental. By the time we reach the chorus, Face hits full power. This hook is confident and catchy, echoing the synths that fuel the track. A goofy rap outro adds character. Its odd phrasing is instantly iconic. Nu’est would face challenges in the future, but they were off to a great start.
Does the song hold up?
Yes! Mainly thanks to its enduring melodies.
Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
It’s definitely on the stronger side.
Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
Up until 2015, yes. After that, they’d change their sound pretty drastically and never really look back.