Upon the announcement of its official closure, I joked about owing K-pop’s Universe app a proper obituary. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really do need to document the demise of this longstanding frenemy.
During its brief existence, Universe promised creepy AI-generated idol interactions (or so I’m told). But more germane to this blog, it churned out over two dozen original songs and accompanying music videos. The catch – at least during the first slate of releases – was that you had to download the app to enjoy the full music video. Coupled with an almost-universally uninspired slew of music, this pay-to-play functionality became increasingly annoying.
So, I started to have some fun with these Universe releases. What began as typical Bias List reviews soon devolved into parodies – each wilder and more elaborate than the last. We had poetry, puzzles, codes, arcade games, mad libs, etc.
Of course, this joke ended up backfiring on me because I felt the need to one-up myself each time these frustratingly frequent Universe tracks emerged. So it’s with a sigh of relief that I celebrate the app’s brief but memorable life.
Join me for a look back at the good, bad and ugly of Universe-related track reviews over the past two years:
Things started out normally…
10. WJSN – Let Me In
Then, it got weird…
11. WEi – Starry Night (poetry)
12. DRIPPIN – Vertigo (mirrored puzzle)
13. Oh My Girl – Shark (carnival game)
14. SF9 – Savior (word search)
15. ATEEZ – Don’t Stop (mad lib)
16. Kwon Eunbi – Esper (gifs)
17. Ha Sungwoon – La La Pop! (audio reactions)
18. Kang Daniel – Ready to Ride (build-a-review)
19. CRAVITY – Vivid (creative writing)
20. The Boyz – Sweet (recipe)
21. Monsta X – If with U (“if with” guide)
22. Astro – U&Iverse (crossword puzzle)
23. Jo Yuri – Maybe (other “maybe” songs)
24. Wonho – Don’t Hesitate (hangman)
25. Kep1er – Sugar Rush (song parody)
26. VIVIZ – Rum Pum Pum (“rum-pum-pum” puzzle)
As we turn the page on this regrettable era, I’ll leave you pondering these burning questions: What’s your favorite Universe track? And on the flip side, what’s your favorite Bias List review of a Universe track?
I won’t comment on the reviews, but favorite song is probably Wonho’s Don’t Hesitate.
The Boyz’ Drink It, WJSN’s Let Me In and CIX’s Tesseract are also contenders.