So Sistar recently released their new summer EP. This was one of the many albums that I had been anticipating as I happen to be a fan of the lovely ladies of Sistar. Ma Boy was my jam for a while and Alone was just damn amazing. Imagine my enthusiasm when I read the tracklist and saw that the album sported remixes of their past songs.
Yeah, I was fanboying all day, err day. Ahem, let us begin.
Loving U is a summer song at its purest. It has all of the ingredients to become a classic summer track: light, breezy tone, subject is about love, and the addictive oohs and falsetto. And, to top it all off, they decided to jam in some beach sounds too – seagulls and waves – just to reinforce the idea that this song is dedicated to summer.
The song starts out with this quirky S I S T A R intro, which is interrupted by the retro horns that rally the arrival of the girls’ beautiful vocals and the beginning of a summery ride. Lately, girl groups in Kpop have been capitalizing on the retro concept to the point of almost abusing it. It’s safe to say, however, that Sistar have taken us back once again, but in a good way. The retro horns in the background (which I personally am a huge fan of) accentuate the feel-good mood of the song and makes the song genuinely retro. You just can’t shake off the undeniably happy, carefree old-school feel of this song. It’s as if they took the energy and feel of YMCA by Village People and translated it to a Korean pop song about love and summered it up. Very nice.
Well, that is, until we get to the rap. The rap placed in the middle of the song unfortunately is distracting at best. All was going well until the seemingly mandatory rap section (as Korean songwriters are somehow convinced that a rap section in every titular track will act as a talisman for success) was awkwardly thrust into the middle of the song. However, the song resumes with its addictive oohs and catchy chorus and the jollity continues until the ending. The whole L O V E thing was another distraction that killed the song a bit. If repeating an English word wasn’t annoying enough, let’s show off how well we Korean songwriters would do in a spelling bee by putting in random phrases where we spell random English words. Yeah, that’s right, we not only know English words, we can spell them too. Take that, America.
Alone (Smells Remix)
I was a huge fan of Sistar’s Alone so Alone (Smells Remix) was an exciting release for me. They did away with the melancholy and groovy tragic-disco sound and electrified the song in this remix. Calm and smooth synths and quirky electronic sounds accompany the girls’ velvety vocals. This is a very interesting and modern take on their song and I thoroughly enjoyed this track. What I loved most about this track was that it wasn’t over-the-top electronic music as that always becomes a bit too unbearably messy to listen to it. It was just a smooth and simple accompaniment with small, quirky electronic flourishes.
How Dare You (Demicat Remix)
Ok, confession time, I actually never got around to listening to How Dare You and so it was just a shot in the dark listening to How Dare You (Demicat Remix). Judging by the remix, the original must have been a killer. This remix is just divine. Electro house in a Kpop album? This is a rare gem of a track in that it sounds refined and ready for the clubs or some beach party. Danceable, lively, modern, sleek, I would not be embarrassed to blast this on my laptop in public. After the first half, it has hints of lounge in it too, which I am definitely a fan of. These almighty Sistar producers definitely know what they were doing when they were charged with the task of finding someone to remix this track.
So Cool (DJ Rubato Remix)
So Cool was a track that I fortunately got to hear performed live at the Google Kpop concert (I will reserve that story for another post because that concert, being my first Kpop concert, was just pure awesomeness) and it was stuck in my head through that. So Cool (DJ Rubato Remix) is an electronic track and DJ Rubato did a decent job modernizing the track and making it more tame. I am once again impressed with the execution of this remix. From the glitchy vocals to the electronic background and sleek feel, it just elevates this album from the jaded collection of Kpop albums out there.
Ma Boy (Smells Remix)
Ma Boy (Smells Remix) was one of the tracks I was excited for because Ma Boy is, as mentioned, one of my favorite songs. It wasn’t a particularly bad remix but the simplicity used to tackle this remix was not executed as well as I had hoped. It sounds too devoid of sounds, honestly. I understand that the breaks in the instrumental is to accentuate the strong beat that came from the original but this remix sounds a bit too tame. It just wasn’t very exciting of a remix.
Holiday isn’t particularly bad but it’s just a peculiar song. It has its good moments – the chorus is strong, loving that falsetto, and the addictive oohs return in the background. However, the rap in the beginning just did not do its job well in introducing the song and the track itself isn’t particularly amazing. It just didn’t have as polished of a feel as the other remixes or the title track. It was just another one of those songs, placed as dead weight into the album’s line up.
Push Push (DJ Rubato Remix)
Push Push (DJ Rubato Remix) isn’t exactly a bad remix and I loved the electronic take on the frenetic song but I was never a fan of the original. However, DJ Rubato definitely turned this song into a more listenable song.
Loving U was meant to be a summer album and indeed it is – complete with a strong summer title track and high quality, club-worthy remixes. This is a summer comeback done right, in my opinion. Give us a couple new tracks, remix well a bunch of songs you’ve done before, and boom. I’m happy to say that Sistar has delivered an excellent comeback. Here’s to many more comebacks from them.
Loving U [feel-good summery song with catchy, retro background, complete with distinctively old-school horns]
Alone (Smells Remix) [modern and smooth take on Alone, simple with well-executed electronic flourishes]
How Dare You (Demicat Remix) [electro-house in a Kpop album done well, sleek and modern, definitely a must-listen, most sophisticated track in the album]
So Cool (DJ Rubato Remix) [sleek electronic remix, club-worthy at the very least]
Holiday [typical Kpop track, nothing really mind-blowing]
Ma Boy (Smells Remix) [a little bland, too much negative space/breaks between each beat]