Deep Cuts has returned, folks.
It’s a miracle.
Time to quickly catch up on months of shit before the year-end list.
Weki Meki – “Metronome”
“Metronome” captured my interest right from the introduction that consisted of piano and finger snaps for an airy bounce, but it quickly evolves into something much better by dropping a filthy synth to give it something like an industrial sound. The shit is absolutely disgusting and I love it. The song basically alternates between those two templates and the contrast works beautifully. It’s a nice fusion of retro and futuristic, and it kind of reminds me of something LOONA might’ve done.
Everything sort of hinges on the instrumental on “Metronome”, which is hard to find fault with even if Weki Meki don’t have a ton to do. Even the chorus isn’t so much reliant on a vocal hook as much as it does on the rhythm of the delivery itself. Still, the girls do their jobs and that’s all I could ask for here.
While I understand why Weki Meki’s company might’ve determined that this wouldn’t go over well with the public … man this is so so so much better than the shit they give music videos to. I mean, given that they aren’t even charting well anyway, why not give this kind of stuff a chance?
WINNER – “Raining”
“Raining” wasn’t something that was immediately appealing, as it has this wistful and melancholy atmosphere appropriately set with a piano. However, the sound itself eventually progresses into something quite uplifting and catchy by the chorus, with the explosion of the drum beat especially noteworthy. The strings are a nice addition as well, and by the time the bridge hits and the guitar riffs start, you kinda forget how this all started (in a good way).
The refrains in the chorus of “raining, raining, raining, biga naerinda” and “maeiri, maeiri, maeiri, neoro jeojneunda” are standouts that mesh perfectly with the song and serve as effective earworms that embed almost immediately. WINNER themselves also do a nice job throughout, both with rapping and vocals, as the song does lean on them to emote correctly. In the end, “Raining” does an excellent job of showing that songs with this subject matter and tone don’t have to be a drag and can in fact be quite fun.
TWICE – “HO”
TWICE throws back to the doo-wop era with the upbeat and infectious “HO“. While the verses are relatively bland, they basically serve as a reprieve, and the pre-chorus similarly utilizes silence to emphasize the chorus to come. Given that construction, the success of “HO” almost entirely depends on the chorus, so thankfully it’s a standout. The song takes off with surprising vocal performances and interplay between the members that carry most of it, as the backing really kicks up the pacing and volume. The chorus thankfully avoids being one note and the rapid-fire delivery eventually gives way to a nice “ho ho hooo” closing.
Additionally, the bridge “oohs” in the background and the instrumental temporarily dropping out were nice touches to ensure that things don’t get stale before “HO” launches back into the addictive chorus. It’s just a lot of throwback fun, and one has to imagine this was considered title track material. If they used it in that capacity, I think it might’ve ended up as TWICE’s version of SECRET‘s “Shy Boy“.
Han Yohan Featuring NOEL & Young B- “Bumpercar”
“Bumpercar” is loud, bombastic, and aggressive, which is a welcome change of pace in the Korean music scene. The rap/rock combination has always felt underutilized in the country, and the trio of Han Yohan, NOEL, and Young B collaborate to show us all why. It surprised me how effectively the rap verses fit the general atmosphere of the song, with the drums and bass guitar combination serving as a solid foundation and the electric guitar inflections helping the instrumental to mesh with the flow of the rappers. The half-screamed, half-chanted pre-chorus is catchy in its own way, and it creates a perfect segue into the chorus that’s powered by riffs that would fit in at a metal concert. Eventually it devolves into just screaming a refrain, which oddly enough effectively serves as a gratifying apex of the track.
As Han Yohan points out, there’s no deeper meaning to this, it’s just something to listen to when you want to fuck shit up. It definitely achieves that goal, but within all the noise there’s always a certain rhythm or melody to everything. There’s definitely a fine line for everybody between a song sounding just like a lot of noise and a song that’s noisy but separates itself by having a certain level of cohesiveness, and “Bumpercar” ends up toeing my personal line expertly.
BoA – “Recollection”
“Recollection” has this easy-going, ethereal atmosphere to it early on, which generally doesn’t draw my interest, but the ever-present underlying beat that keeps things driving forward and the retro elements certainly didn’t hurt. A somewhat vocal-centric track, BoA herself especially comes into play during the sparse pre-chorus, which ends up creating a sense of anticipation without the instrumental itself having to build. Then the chorus of “Recollection” hits with a funk-powered instrumental that immediately hooked me, and the driving refrain helps everything come together, with a nice touch being the instrumental cutting out for “ahhhs” before being clapped back in.
While r&b can be a bit downbeat for me at times, this was certainly at the top-end of that, with the entire effort feeling breezy but still possessing this underlying feeling of epicness thanks to the evolving instrumental. Yet despite how well I feel the chorus works, it’s still not something I’d tell somebody to listen to as an example of a knockout hook. But much like memories, “Recollection” works best as a cohesive whole rather than being parted out, and there’s a groove and flow to the song that’s undeniable and has kept me reaching for the replay button. It’s just all so … easy. Add on points for BoA herself writing and composing this, and it’s definitely an effort worth paying attention to.