[Review] Rain & JYP collab on appropriately retro “Switch To Me”

Rain’s 2020 has been a story of resurgence, as his ridiculous 2017 single Gang unexpectedly rose to fame and he became one third of retro pop pastiche SSAK3. JYP’s 2020 has seen him embracing his own history, including collaborations with some of the artists he’s mentored over the years. Switch To Me (나로 바꾸자) brings both of these narratives together, pairing the long-time friends and co-workers for a song that looks back on retro trends while drawing upon the meme-worthy humor at the heart of both performers’ appeal.

Written (of course) by JYP himself, Switch To Me is a New Jack Swing dance track that offers the chance for the duo to one-up each other. Musically, this is a comfortable territory for the guys, and it’s satisfying to watch performers do what they do best. This genre has been a long-time favorite of mine, and is always a treat to hear. As expected, the instrumental gets the funky, percussive arrangement just right, though it could do with a more addictive synth hook. I love the backing vocals that buttress the chorus, though. They offer a refreshing interplay with the relatively simple groove.

Melodically, I have a feeling that Switch To Me will end up becoming a huge earworm. Its charm is immediately apparent, even if the structure feels more like a sewing-together of existing New Jack Swing tropes than a modern reinterpretation. Still, I enjoy that wavering refrain that leads us out of each chorus. Even better is the second-verse rap, which enhances the existing instrumental rather than upending it. This is a lot of fun, as expected of these two.

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