A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
PSY’s ninth album proves his continued relevancy. It’s solid as a rock – filled with highlights that draw upon his unique artistic perspective. Tracks like Dear Me and Everyday lean into the anthemic qualities I’ve always enjoyed in his music, while the Jessi-featuring Ganji is great, attitude-fueled fun. But, I must write about the album’s biggest WTF moment, which just happens to be an instant standout as well.
Now (이제는) is an example of multiple worlds coming together in ways I never would have expected. Go back in time 10-15 years and you’d catch me in the middle of an obsession with cheesy, little-known 80’s movie musicals. Side note: If you’ve never experienced 1980’s The Apple you need to change that asap. I promise it’ll be the most unintentionally funny thing you watch all year. It’s lowkey the best movie ever made.
Another campy movie you’d find in my collection was 1984’s Voyage of the Rock Aliens, which included the song When the Rain Begins to Fall – sung by Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson. The track had little to do with the actual movie, but went on to become a big hit in Europe. Almost forty years later, it appears on PSY’s new album, recorded in Korean and featuring Mamamoo’s Hwasa. What an unlikely turn of events! It makes me wonder how PSY first heard the song. Was it one he enjoyed as a kid? One he always wanted to cover in the same way I always wanted to include Stan Bush’s The Touch on my imaginary pop album?
Whatever the case, for me this is a wondrously weird combination of past and present interests. It’s also a massive dance track. So far, the best retro tracks of 2022 have been covers of 80’s classics (looking at you, Jump). I’m not sure if this says anything beyond the fact that “retro” is best when dripping with nostalgia. PSY and Hwasa imbue Now with plenty of power, giving it a serious makeover that makes the original’s synth riff even more immense. The two voices sound great together, and I love the gutsy level of energy they bring to their performances. I also love the Hi-NRG gloss of the production, which borrows from disco, video games and even a bit of city pop. It’s a loving ode to the era, updated to sound crisp and vital today. And it’s freakin’ weird, which is always a great thing.
Wow this actually really good. Look at me looking retro stuff when i swore i wouldn’t anymore. Need to give the album a listen soon.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Also Lim Youngwoong review 👀?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wait I heard that the Hwasa collab on the album was good but I didn’t look into it (still need to check out the rest of the album) and I didn’t know it was a remake of When the Rain Begins to Fall! (Wow, an older song mentioned on this site that I’ve actually heard! ^~^;). Anyways I love it, and I’ll need to check out the rest of the album.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I know it came out ages ago but ‘Everyday’ has such amazing progressive house vibes that I was so ready to give it a 10/10. Sadly I didn’t really enjoy the big room drop that followed. ‘Now’ is a too banger tho.
Pia Zadora, now there is a name I haven’t heard in a while.
This song isn’t for me. Its kitschy, in the way as the semi-viral postings of house-stuck-in-1970-never-renovated. Sure its entertaining to imagine oneself in that place for a day or three. And then move on.
(For the record, the characteristic style of the 10’s is all whites and greys with farmhouse touches on an open plan. Stools on the edge of the center island, with view over the couch of the enormous flat screen TV. Statement lantern lighting in choice of metal finish for the personalizing accents. Wall of black and white family photos from the Michaels’ bundle, with coupon.)
Wait, this is the first 9 rating this 2022 right?
no, it was for max changmin’s maniac i believe
Nope. There was plenty of songs which had that rating before this one.
Changmin had scored that score with two tracks – Fever and Maniac.
Rocket Punch is one of the only groups whose single which has slotted itself on that score.
Miyavi’s Strike it Out and Takuya’s I’ll be There also gained that as well.
There were three J-pop bsides which earned that score.
Naniwa Danshi’s The Answer and Road B’s Nonstop have the highest scores so far with 9.25.
And there were two solid b-sides which has that rating as well, Jinjin & Rocky’s Lock Down and Dreamcatcher’s Starlight.
To be fair, this is still not as good as the 2021 list. At this point in time, songs which earned this score were:
Four ONF tracks (Beautiful Beautiful, The Realist, Ugly Dance and My Genesis)
Four SHINee songs which came with a legendary album (Heart Attack, I Really Want You, CODE and Atlantis)
Three Golden Child tracks (Breathe, Burn It, Round N Round)
BAE137’s Loved You
BDC’s Moon Rider
Jessi’s What Type Of X
An impeccable string of top-tier album tracks (Take Me Home, Reach Out Your Hands, Prism, Stove, Poison Love)
And a handful of great J-pop tracks! (Daichi Miura’s Backwards, JO1’s Born to be Wild, Sexy Zone’s Let’s Music and Fantastics Stop for Nothing)
That’s a total of 27 tracks !!!
LikeLiked by 3 people
I LOVE your commitment to archiving this blog’s stats! 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
I just love the system of this blog lol
It would be great to see what an eventual MV would portray. The “When We Disco” mood between Psy and Hwasa works great and I’m expecting the same amount of fun and irony.
* Xeno shambles into the room drunkenly, trips on a ripple in the carpet and falls flat on his face and passes out. A small thumb drive falls out of his pocket with the following on it*
Thanks for the further intel on the song. I have a friend who lives for the Apple and Pia Zadora, and she’s going to freak out. I love its OTT feel.
Also, PSY probably knew Koyote’s cover. i can see it being a great karaoke duet song.
I love this track SO MUCH, my favourite of 2022 so far. Though it is technically not.