Sometimes, songs aren’t designed to be experienced in traditional ways. Super Junior’s “Super Duper” first reared its head during the group’s tour, where spirits were high and adrenaline was pumping. Had I been there in the audience, I’m sure I would have been enthralled by its goofy energy. But, I was not there. And taken on its own in a studio version, “Super Duper” is more noise than song.
Super Junior were among the first k-pop groups I fell in love with, so there’s certainly no negative bias at play here. One of their biggest strengths has always been a sense of wisecracking camaraderie, and in some ways the song’s busyness mirrors their variety appearances where members are often excitedly talking over one another in an entertaining mess of personalities. Unfortunately, the song itself forgets the “entertaining” part of that equation, positioning itself over an ugly EDM beat with all the charm of a toddler clanging pots and pans together. Add a few cringe-worthy trap breakdowns to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a migraine.
“Super Duper” is the 50th SM Station release, rather than a full-fledged comeback from the group. Hopefully this will relegate its existence to a one-off obscurity, occasionally performed at concerts to buoy the energy level. In that role, the song carries a bit of single-minded charm. But Super Junior have crafted superior hype tracks in the past. I’d much rather listen to the likes of “Rockstar“ or “Can You Feel It“, which blend this kind of in-your-face energy with cleaner arrangements and stronger hooks.