The interesting thing about fads in music is how artists, companies, and producers are willing to twist and mold them to their own musical style to achieve a proper sense of belonging; at least before the fads disappear (that is, prior to being resurrected in a later era). Before you know it, trends and fads become a norm in songs, to the point that they flow so well you hardly notice them.
The obvious one that has found a home in mainstream music today is dubstep, and Super Junior sub-unit Super Junior M dives deeper into the dubstep fad in their latest single, “BREAK DOWN“.
I had a feeling this would be the next step in their musical experimentation, especially after listening to the big leap SM Entertainment took with “Perfection” in 2011 – a completely different angle than 2009′s highly melodic and classical “Super Girl”. But little did I know, this next chapter would be more than trendy. Super Junior M’s 2013 comeback single is one of the group’s most successfully fluid musical endeavors yet, and there is one big reason why that is.
SM Entertainment made the most obvious-but-not-so-obvious move in following the dubstep fad with “BREAK DOWN” by constructing a dubstep song rather than constructing a pop song with dubstep in it. A lot of great pop music utilizes vocals to embellish great instrumentals, but one of the biggest mistakes producers have been making is focusing on dubstep as a means to a climax in pop rather than dubstep being a functioning element in a song as a whole. Think TVXQ‘s “Catch Me“, which is an utterly disjointed pop-step single that shows how extraneous dubstep can be when incorporated in very awkward ways. “BREAK DOWN” performs a lot better because it sings that wub-wub-wub from beginning to end.
The tension in this song is the best clue to how well the dubstep interacts with the vocals, which, for lack of a better term, practically have to tip-toe around the instrumental. That itself is also a weak point in this song, as Super Junior M are taking complete orders from the aggressive rhythm rather than propelling the song themselves. In this case, the instrumental is the omnipresent ninth member. It’s not always ideal to have the vocals be a supporting element in a pop song, but with dubstep, you take what you can get.
That aside, though, “BREAK DOWN” does a really good job of turning a polarizing style into a rather enjoyable experience. Super Junior M’s vocals sound beautiful as always, and the dubstep never really becomes bothersome to the ear. When we hit the dubstep breakdown (ha), it doesn’t feel intrusive at all because it was always there to begin with. And it’s this successful flow in production that makes this song a winner for Super Junior M, and a winner for dubstep-infused pop music overall.
McRoth is a whore for Korean music and is best known for writing Korean music reviews on his site McRoth’s Residence. You can e-mail this gay at email@example.com or stalk him on Twitter @rothsresidence and Facebook.
The interesting thing about fads in music is how artists, companies, and producers are willing to twist and mold them to their own musical style to achieve a proper sense of belonging; at least before the fads disappear (that is, prior to being resurrected in a later era). Before you know it, trends and fads …