Credit where credit is due to Brave Brothers. While he may have struggled to get them to fame for years, once “Rollin’” took off, he has managed them fantastically. Not only with putting “Rollin'” absolutely everywhere, but also drawing attention to their ahead-of-the-curve citypop track “We Ride“. After making their intentions obvious on “Chi Mat Ba Ram” as the song of the summer, which was at least damn close, they are now turning their attention back to the nighttime city groove to match the season with “After We Ride“.
Honestly, this was a bit of a surprise, less subdued than “We Ride” it actually fits being a pop single better. The instrumental foundation is fantastic with arrays of retro synths paired with a chugging guitar and percussion hits to create a foundation that widely appeals to me at the outset.
There’s no real weak spot to “After We Ride”, with the verses being excellent in their own right, always pushing the song forward. The lack of immediate absolute peak is solved by the ending flurries, the bridge doesn’t kill the vibe and only provides a brief reset, and the chorus is hookier than you remember at first with “ireohge L-O-V-E neoreul mot ijeo” standing out.
Yet it always feels like more than the sum of its parts due to the seamless transitions that break monotony but never the momentum of the song. That allows the bittersweet atmosphere to be the constant. Listening to the song before reading anything about it, I came away taken by how much of a mood-setter this was, simultaneously holding this regretful, sentimental softness to it but also being applicable to a uplifting, foot-tapping nighttime ride.
Turns out that was exactly what they were trying to convey.
At first, ‘We Ride’ is about a couple who broke up and are sad, but on the other hand, it is due to breakups that we are able to find new love, so we don’t have to be too sad. Brave Brothers told us to sing the song with the feelings of a breakup, so we tried hard to bring those feelings to life.”
Well, uh, that worked.
“After We Ride” is an excellent song, not only because the elements fit but because everything funnels towards an overarching theme that quite frankly doesn’t happen frequently with idol groups like this. Obviously the concept has been done to death, but the execution elevates this to something special and it’s been irresistibly replayable so far, making “After We Ride” one of my favorite efforts of the year.