Co-ed group KARD from DSP Media has debuted with “Oh NaNa“, and it gives hope that they might be around going forward if expectations are managed.
The instrumental clearly derives from house and reggae, and it understandably had people hooked from the teasers alone (me included), and thankfully it does the easy part in not letting us down by letting what we had already heard shine. For example, the best part of the track rests on the shoulders of the repeating “oh na na” section of the chorus, which essentially serves to highlight the uptempo thumping music. Fortunately the instrumental was groovy enough to carry those sections and justify the highlighting.
As far as the members go, it was actually rather difficult to tell how they sound exactly because their vocals are so processed, but the style works for them on this track and they generally appeared to handle themselves well. There was a solid mix of female and male voices that you don’t normally get from idol tracks, and the balance certainly helped to elevate “Oh NaNa” by standing out for more than just the concept. It certainly made me curious to hear more to see how this works out in other scenarios because the potential is definitely there.
“Oh NaNa” is a surprisingly contemporary-sounding track that could’ve fit at the top of Billboard (for better or worse) had it been performed by the right American artist. For all the (valid) complaining about DSP Media, they deserve credit for going with a mature co-ed group and coming up with this sound for them for a debut, because in the end it’s hard to see this as anything but successful.
The music video was a tad weird. It’s not that the aesthetic was bad, necessarily, it just didn’t make much sense. It had the type of atmosphere appropriate for some kind of dark, moody track or a plot about somebody about to be murdered. You know, instead the backdrop for the nice summery sound that the song actually was, the music video was made for kind of a horrorscape.
As I mentioned before, though, the point choreography featuring the quasi-grinding and body rolls is interesting, and so is the interactions in the choreo between the male and female members. It’s just stuff you don’t see in K-pop, and there’s definitely things you can do with pairings between the opposite sex that you normally don’t see otherwise. Whether they maximize the utility of that dynamic going forward is yet to be seen. (But given it’s K-pop, probably not.)
Oh yeah, Youngji showed up like some kind of monk that controls time-space and/or death.
I mean, I don’t get it. Dressed like the dude from the End Of Time in ‘Chrono Trigger‘ or some shit.
Regardless, it sure seemed like a featuring than an actual member of the group to me.
So yeah, the music video for “Oh NaNa” was an extremely weird fit. It seemed like they were going for a serious concept, so they figured they needed to go all dark and mysterious everything to get that vibe across no matter what the song sounded like. That said, if one just considers the song, which is a groovy and modern sound that’s paired with a unique concept, the KARD experiment was definitely worthwhile.
I hope KARD go far, even if history tells us otherwise with the pairing of a co-ed group and mature concepts.
‘Oh NaNa’ Single Album
“Oh NaNa” Song