Sometimes it feels as if the K-pop industry is toying with their fans – seeing just how awkward a song they can force upon us. This year, no agency has been guiltier than JYP. From NMIXX’s mixx-pop excursions to ITZY’s footwear fantasies to Stray Kids’ ping ping pings, it’s as if everyone at the agency is engaged in the same cruel joke. Good on them, I guess. That joke makes a big punchline with Xdinary Heroes’ Hair Cut.
On a positive note, I appreciate how Xdinary Heroes aren’t playing things safe. They’ve carved their own path, far from most previous idol bands from notable agencies. I have no desire to join them down that path, but I give them credit for their sheer weirdness. Weirdness can be great. It should be celebrated in all its beautiful forms. But, you’ve gotta give me a song I can work with.
Hair Cut is… a choice. Actually, it’s a lot of choices — from the incessant cackling to the snipping scissor sound effects. I’d advise someone at JYP Headquarters to make off with the stock sound effects library, pronto. The lyrical conceit of cutting one’s hair to change perspective and fortune is a K-pop staple (exhibits a and b), but we’ve never heard it funneled through carnival-like psychedelic rock before.
Oh, who am I kidding? Hair Cut’s chorus is literally “get a hair cut, get a hair cut – cut, cut, cut” performed with some weird, drawling vocal fry. I have a pretty large musical imagination, but that hook alone disqualifies the song from my playlist. Like ITZY’s Sneakers, it feels so obvious and gimmicky. And thanks to its plodding energy, it’s half as fun. That chorus lands with a thud, and not a satisfying one. I assume it’s trying to be clever, but it comes across like an arm-farty plead for attention. It’s just really, really dumb. That could be an asset in the right hands, but like so many of these recent novelty songs, Hair Cut seems to take itself quite seriously.