PSY’s ninth album has been teased for so long it began to feel more like an urban legend than an actual release. He’s one of the pillars of K-pop – even more so now that his successful P Nation has signed many of the industry’s buzziest acts. But those who know PSY only for the viral nature of Gangnam Style are missing an important layer of his artistry. Yes, he can throw down a fun, silly dance track. But, his music can also be personal, affecting and quite transcendent.
Because of this, I was a little disappointed to see he’d be returning with another Gangnam Style-esque single after so many years. That That’s teasers didn’t impress, and their BTS connection felt like an unneeded gimmick. It’s a wasted opportunity for PSY’s global impression to rely so heavily on meme-worthy dance moves. But, That That quickly won me over. A song this stupidly fun is almost critic-proof.
Produced by (and featuring) BTS’s Suga, That That feels like it could have spawned from any point in PSY’s career. It has the relentless energy of Right Here, the bounding percussion of New Face and – of course – the dance frenzy of Gangnam Style. It’s supremely catchy in a slightly obnoxious way and I should despise it. But, it’s so eager to please that I can’t possibly do anything but love it. And, Suga’s guest rap verse is pretty fantastic, especially over that dynamic percussion.
That That’s production is at its best when it leans into its Zumba beat and celebratory stabs of brass. It’s refreshing to hear a K-pop track with such a high tempo. This is the sort of song that pulls you along for the ride. It’s almost impossible to sit still when this groove is blasting. It’s so coercive you won’t even bat an eye at the flimsy nature of the hook. That’s always been one of PSY’s superpowers. His confidence is infectious. He commands even the silliest of material and performs it with conviction. He’s in fine form here, and it’s great to have him back.