[Year-End Special] #5: Primary – 아끼지마 (Don’t Be Shy)

“don’t be shy 다가와 너무 고민 하지마”

Primary’s single releases this year have been spot on and “Don’t Be Shy” is no exception. Though Primary needs to be a bit more careful about his sampling habits to avoid plagiarism issues, when he’s on top of things, he produces some very interesting and chill music.

AOA’s ChoA is no doubt the powerhouse vocalist of the group but, as K-pop likes it falsetto and high ranges, it was strange at first hearing ChoA singing something that didn’t sound like dying chipmunks. Her lower range sounds lovely and, within the context of this song, coy and charming.

Primary’s dabbling in dub reggae is what makes this track stand out. Amidst a K-pop that likes things to hit hard, to be lively, to be crazy, he decided to go the opposite route, toward a sound that is more laid back, more chill. ChoA’s inclusion was very appropriate with her showcasing her lower range without having to belt and Iron’s lazy sounding rapping was in no way out of place.

And perhaps as a cherry on the top, the accompanying MV is an eerie parody on supernatural tropes, where ChoA and her gang of gambling witches/psychics play an elaborate game involving Pokémon cards and a pink gun and spend their free time ripping the heads off of Barbie dolls. All this culminates to the “ghost sighting”, where ChoA manages to find two ghosts, under sheets with eye holes and all. And when the sleepover is over, they burn their toys inside Primary’s mask. Brilliant MV, if you ask me.

I think this is the first time I’ve heard dub reggae in K-pop and so I tip my hat off to Primary for exploring other genres. I hope other producers can follow suit and not be shy about dabbling in genres not yet touched by K-pop.

Honorable Mentions: Mannequin | A | Breezy, jazzy song with unique vocals from Suran and slick rapping from Beenzino that doubles as a jab at consumerism and Korea’s trend chasing culture. 

Gold Finger | A- | Could have went to Lim Kim by accident but Suran kills it in this B-side. Tough beats and persistent synths.

Final Rating: A | Dub reggae featuring a coy ChoA and an intoxicated Iron. A very chill and inspired slice off of Primary’s album release for 2015. 

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