Hodgepodging in Kpop

My initial plan was to do a review for Miss A’s comeback song “Only You.” I had lots of expectation for the girls and also the hype JYP stirred up with the teasers promised a fun, flirty comeback with the girls aiming for girly rather than sexy, like the last song ‘Hush’.

miss-a-album-spoiler-800x450 ibkPbSVEebzhKG

I got out Word and pulled up Youtube and anticipated being blown away from the girls and if anything feeling a bit more energetic from the MV. And if you didn’t see it coming already, well, I wasn’t.

Here, check it out for yourself here.

The song started out promising. I loved the beat and the mood the track was setting: laid back, but also slightly flirty. Then the girls came in all together and I got excited as slowly the vocals singled in on each Miss A member. Then the beat changed to build up to something good, the chorus and then…

…wait, that was the build up? //oh and I should have said this earlier but this post will be a bit more…blunt?

I’m sorry, dear, but that was no build up. They did such a good job setting up a stage for the chorus and then it went back to a slightly slower, simpler beat? That really threw me off. They should have just stuck with the faster, jazzier rhythm that they go back to into the verse. I’m listening to it now and it really frustrates me. They had something really good going with the mood and then the chorus comes and it sounds too simple and makes for a different mood.

And this isn’t the first time it’s happened in Kpop. I can’t say for sure when the first hodgepodge song came out, but one of the most influential was definitely “I Got a Boy” by none other than Girl’s Generation. When I first saw the music video, it was to say in the least very trippy. The song had three different musical ideas floating around and the music video itself was like a rainbow barfed everywhere in a very cutesy explosion of girliness. Not saying that it was a bad music video, but seriously all the bright colours. Wow.

That to say, though, I’ve gotten used to the song now but still even when I listen to it, I still find the transitions between the pieces of the song a bit…unnatural? Which, I suppose they are but the key is making the different musical concepts flow together. Or perhaps that’s what the producer wanted all along?

Another example of a hodgepodge song is Red Velvet’s “Ice Cream Cake“. This transition is smoother and makes more sense, at least in that it goes from slower to something a bit more frantic in the background. There’s also “Swing” by Super Junior M which isn’t as smooth but still makes more sense than “Only You”.

(wait…these are all SM songs…)

On the opposite corner of SM there was also 2NE1 who experimented with hodgepodge but within their unique corner. “Come Back Home” was clearly a hodgepodge and although it threw listeners off, it worked for the effect the group was going for. When the beat changes to a trap rhythm, the music video also goes under a loop, into the virtual world, so the change wasn’t wasted. On a slower piece, 2ne1 also excellently pulled off the hodgepodge for “Missing You” in which, again, they used the change of tempo to reflect a swell in emotions as the girls confess they missed their past lover.

My personal favorite in the hodgepodge genre is Infinite’s “Back“. This is what I believe hodgepodge songs are aiming for: a transition between genres that feels organic. In “Back” the producers seamlessly draw the listeners from acoustic to all out electronic back to acoustic and back again to electronic without making us feel rattled. More than anything, they used the outline of the song to mirror the moments of music theme hopping. And this makes the most sense, does it not? Because then the musical chairs of styles (so to speak) now accentuates the song rather than taking away from it.

I believe that music has to be very intentional. If you’re going to change a tempo or mood there better be a solid reason for doing it besides ‘it sound cool’ or ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Please, just…no. Music doesn’t conform to society, it *should* challenge it and redefine it. Yes, perhaps it’ll ride the wave of a certain musical trend but at least it should make sense in the overarching message or theme of a song.

Miss A’s “Only You” didn’t cut it for me. I still believe that the song would have been much better without the random change in tempo for the chorus. It wasn’t like there was a drastic change in the song either; it seemed almost like the producers wanted to stick it in just because. Then again, I don’t know I’m just interpreting it from my perspective. For all we know, it was very intentional. But for me, I’m not 100% pleased with it. I think the girls deserve better…Then again, I’ll most likely end up buying the song…

Oh, and one last note…does the song remind you of an English song? Some parts seem familiar and I’m not sure if it’s just something common or if perhaps it’s inspired from some American song. It’s at the :46 mark, if anyone is interested in seeing for themselves.


2 thoughts on “Hodgepodging in Kpop”

  1. I have definitely felt confused about this “trend” in the past. “I Got A Boy” was very jarring for me at the first listen, and it took me at least 3 or 4 more to get into the groove. That being said, it has become one of my favourite SNSD songs of all-time.

    I find that hodgepodge songs have the ability to do one of two things:
    1) Put you off entirely and keep you from ever giving it another listen
    2) Make you go, “Huh?” and pique your curiosity into playing it several more times, eventually turning it into an earworm that you can’t get out of your head (Red Velvet’s “Ice Cream Cake” really did this for me!)

    Thanks for the good read 🙂
    P.S. JYP has been really hit or miss lately. Sigh. I wish he put in half as much effort into Miss A as he does with 2PM and GOT7.

    1. Exactly! I’m glad I’m not the only one~
      And true…I mean, ‘Hush’ was really good then this fell flat in comparison. But it’s still doing extremely well in Korea so I guess it works?

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