After serving me nothing but a gigantic letdown with “Remember“, SES bounced right back with what I will consider their actual title track in “Paradise“.
Following a year filled with throwbacks to the 90s, I suppose it’s only appropriate that SES starts 2017 with a throwback to something like what they debuted with. The new jack swing is all over this snyth-driven instrumental, but the thankfully the production has been modernized and so has the composition of the track. This is apparent in the utilization of the word repetition towards the end of the chorus, and it works to effectively provide a bit of versatility to the throwback sound.
While it can get a bit repetitive because the foundation of the instrumental is generally a constant, the fact that it’s so easy to groove along with makes it easy to pick up again and it still managed to draw me in after multiple listens in a row. Their execution of the material was quality as well, and Bada‘s improvement since her SES days of yelling over everything helps makes this track what it was.
Time will tell whether I end up actually loving this release or if it falls into the merely eminently listenable category, but I can definitely say that right now I’m loving “Paradise”.
I know “aesthetic” is overused in reviews nowadays, but it really is the best way to describe a lot of these sets as they become more art-oriented than ever before in these videos. “Paradise” is definitely not an exception to that rule, including a variety of interesting looks and sets for SES.
Of course, there were the visuals of the individual members as well…
…most notably Eugene, who is fucking insane.
Everybody’s peasant faves are irrelevant in the presence of the queen of visuals. Damn.
I also noticed how, much like Shinhwa, it’s a lot easier to believe them in serious/mature concepts, as it comes off a lot less like cosplay and more like what they’re naturally meant to do. The same goes for their real-life relationship, as the ending scenes where they’re just having fun with each other is easier to buy that everything’s genuine when you know they’ve been friends for over a decade even after their disbandment. It all adds up in the end.
“Paradise” is definitely the reunion comeback that SES deserved to get, and I’m glad to see them get something that was right in their wheelhouse. While I definitely enjoyed the song as a quality effort on its own, it does get bonus points for not only bringing back the nostalgia of the era but the fact that they’re using their own goddamn old sound. Considering their place as a pioneering girl group, SES deserved at least this much at the end from SM Entertainment.