I don’t often write about Jay Park’s music on The Bias List. I guess he could still be considered an “idol,” but I’d classify his work as more straight-up R&B than K-pop. The lines are blurring more and more every year. However, a feature from the ever-popular IU warrants a review.
Whenever I click on a new Jay Park video, I have a not-so-secret desire to hear something akin to his excellent 2013-14 material. Joah and So Good remain enormous bops, showcasing an artist at the top of his game. Given the IU feature, I had some hope Ganadara would stand as another highlight. But while the talent is certainly there, the song itself is pretty dull. We’re in firm coffeeshop territory here, with a subdued, mid-tempo beat and strummed guitar loop. The Korean charts eat this sound up, so it’s no surprise the track keeps things simple.
On the plus side, this hushed arrangement offers ample space to focus on Jay Park and IU’s vocals. They sound great as usual, but I long for a melody worth returning to. Great R&B ties its eccentricities to strong hooks and memorable turns. To me, Ganadara sounds more like a conversation set to music. The rhythmic chorus is catchy, but doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Instead, we’re left with the novelty of these two K-pop titans joining forces. That’s enough to fuel Ganadara the first time through, but I don’t see myself coming back to this.