[#27] Cho Yong Pil - "HELLO"

From: "HELLO"
Released: April
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Bounce"

Apart from the really, really big names or names who have appeared with idols before (Like Patti Kim or Tae Jin Ah), I'm not familiar with that many of the older non-idol Korean acts. It's less of ignorance (because I more or less know my Korean music history) and more of personal taste -- I enjoy idol groups, I always have, I enjoy the current mainstream and its direct predecessors, and therefore I focus on them. But of course, over and above that I enjoy the music I enjoy, regardless of label or era.

Cho Yong Pil's "HELLO" was, however, a mainstream hit this year. And I admit that I wouldn't have listened to it if it wasn't. But I'm glad I did because aside from the fact that I genuinely like this as well as "Bounce," "HELLO" proves a very important point I always make.

"HELLO" takes all the trends and conventions of pop/rock now -- stomping beats, a few synths here and there, a catchy and repetitive hook even a rap section -- and does it with such mastery and effortlessness. This is a true masterclass in mainstream pop. You still hear some of the past in the song though, in the chords, in the way the guitar line is executed (especially during the chorus), but they blend into the whole and they match very well. The song is so well put-together that it sounds so smooth. The transitions before and after the bridge send chills down my spine because of how effortless the song moves from one part to the other -- the friction created between the very gritty  and as repetitive as the chorus is, it's nowhere near annoying.

For someone as experienced and as old as Cho Yong Pil, who started during a completely different musical era, "HELLO" is very contemporary. There's rap, there are electronic instruments, and at a glance the song sounds very young. But instead of being a cringe-fest because of Cho Yong Pil's age, "HELLO" shows just how good he and his production team are. If you really know what you're doing, if you have solid musical foundations, then time is never an obstacle. This is art -- styles may change, new technologies may be introduced, but the rudiments remain constant. So regardless of whether you learned how to make music in in the 1960s or the 2000s, music theory is pretty much the same. And Cho Yong Pil has definitely mastered his rudiments, which makes "HELLO" a walk in the park for him.

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