With over 3,000 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2009
As much as I complain about trends, K-pop has always been a slave to them. So many first and second gen classics sound like rewrites of popular global smashes, and that’s okay – especially if those global smashes were great to begin with. But, the industry hasn’t always been as overstuffed as it is now, giving these tracks more room to breathe and stand on their own. Such is the case with Taeyang’s Wedding Dress.
The song borrows from so many r&b tropes of its era. In that way, it’s quite generic. That familiarity helped it become an international breakthrough, back when “international breakthrough” still felt novel and surprising in K-pop. It’s easy to see why this song would have global appeal. The melody is timeless, nudged along by that gorgeous piano riff. The subject matter is clear even if you don’t know a lick of Korean, and Taeyang makes for an approachable r&b balladeer. In fact, I don’t think Wedding Dress would work without him. The song could easily come across as a faceless, but his vocals give it insistent character.
In my opinion, Taeyang’s solo peak wouldn’t arrive until his 2014 Rise era, but Wedding Dress is his second highest selling single in Korea, slotting right behind Eyes, Nose, Lips. It’s also enjoyed great longevity. Though the production feels dated, there’s something about the song’s straightforward nature that’s fresh even today. Much of the credit goes to Taeyang’s pleading vocal and rhythmic phrasing. He really drives the song forward with emotion.
The “Random Shuffle”. Since I don’t own the blog, I will freely add my snarky comment that “random” is more like “songs I should have reviewed a long time ago but didn’t but hey here is this guy/girl/group in the news again for ____ reason, so now is a good time, and hey the Random Shuffle category is a good place to put it.” It is also Thursday, so you my as well just create a “Throwback Thursday” category, Nick, if you want to give up the pretense of “Random”.
A day or three ago, someone mentioned in a comment that “self-composed” only counts if there are fewer than some number of credits on the composition. This one here! Two! Teddy and Taeyang and that is it.
And that is why the song is so good. It is a composition that is crafted by the artist with a trusted songwriting partner. It is composed through hard work noodling around and making a melody, a lyric, crafting and honing it. It is composed through the soul of the persona. Its not some idea jotted down, handed to another songwriter to make something of it. No song camp was involved. Though I doubt he plays the piano on the actual recording, right at 0:28 Taeyang is actually playing the line that is on the audio at that time.
That is why Taeyang performs it so emotionally and flawlessly. It IS his song.
Let me talk more about the piano. The song has a real instrumental which is fairly simple. Its not a mashup of synths, and the chords are simple enough for a person with just a few years of lessons to learn. Then the vocal melody also keeps in a range that is wide enough to carry emotion yet narrow enough that most everyone can sing it. So it becomes a natural hit because fans can google “Taeyang Wedding Dress piano”, get the sheet music, and perform the song in the own house or talent show or busking or wherever. That adds immensely to the popularity, when people can perform it themselves or hear other people performing it for real out and about.
LikeLiked by 6 people
You know a song is good when Myma devotes a full-length comment review analyzing why it works!
LikeLiked by 2 people
May I also add that Taeyang may be a rare kinesthetic thinker, meaning for some of the phrases he may have first thought about how he wants to move, and then crafted a melodic and lyric line to match that movement. This is best heard the chorus. Yeah, you know the line I am thinking of already, the movement fits the melody like hand in glove, or vice versa. It starts at 1:27.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Haha in my defense it really is a random shuffle. Honest to god! I literally go into my “K-pop singles” playlist in iTunes, hit “random” and press play. 🙂
(of course, I usually have to skip through a bunch of songs that I’ve already written about before landing on the one I end up reviewing)
WHOO! I feel like one of those old uncles saying ‘What you know about THIS?!’ when it come to this song LOL
Wedding Dress was THE R&B kpop jam and much like Abracadabra became one of those gateway songs used to get non kpop listeners to consider doing so. Everything about it is indeed dated but I would argue that’s what makes it so classic. Let’s not even get into the video itself – a master class in early 2000s angsty drama that really propelled him as a heart throb even further. Definitely his Usher moment and a fine one at that.