Which benevolent K-pop god did I appease to get new music from Sweetune and Thomas Troelsen on the same day?? These are two of my all-time favorite producers, and neither churns out all that much material these days. In Troelsen’s case, his work has been paired with an unlikely star: GOT7’s Jay B. When I think of Jay B, I picture understated cool. I’m surprised to hear him let his hair down on the funky go UP.
go UP is a quintessential funk track, stripping the genre down to its bones. It’s a big, bounding beat and simple, sing-along hook. It’s also a convincing ode to funk songs of the past, from James Brown all the way up to Prince and Bruno Mars. I’d expect nothing less of Troelsen’s production. He imbues the instrumental with a satisfying crunch. Stabs of brass compete with unyielding percussion. The arrangement snaps in a way that’ll surely get your head moving. go UP doesn’t need to switch or drop out as it unfolds because its central ingredients are so pleasing on their own.
This instrumental is clearly the star of the show because there’s not much of a song thrown over the top. Jay B rides the beat, occasionally breaking free with a jolt of falsetto or excited ad-lib. He’s buttressed by backing vocals that feel as if they could have been pulled straight from the seventies. This sound is immensely nostalgic, even if its roots stretch back before my time. In this way, go UP succeeds by targeting its influences directly and never straying from their single-minded potency.