[#18] AKMU - "Give Love"

From: "PLAY"
Released: April
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2013: [#48] "Love In The Milky Way Cafe"
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "200%", "Galaxy", "길이나", "작은별"

Out of all the Kpop Star seasons, the second is still my favorite. Which is ironic because the contestants I liked don't really fit into the standard "kpop star" stereotype -- 2000Won, Raccoon Boys and of course, AKMU. I wasn't particularly blown away by their first audition, and I understand now that a lot of it had to do with the fact that I didn't understand the context and lyrics of "Don't Cross Your Legs." But what drew me to AKMU was the unpretentious creativity they showed week in and week out -- they had an image as the awkward but talented duo, and they took advantage of it. The awkwardness turned into spunk, and the talent led to some of the most ingenious, musical talent show covers I've ever heard.

As much as I agree that a lot of talented artists are not given enough attention, I also believe that if you know how to work with your talent there are ways to get noticed -- AKMU are proof of that.

I'm not really surprised that my favorite song from their debut LP was a song written pre-YG, because as I've mentioned what convinced me about AKMU was their (relatively) raw performance on Kpop Star. "Give Love" is spunky -- from the sharp yet melodic guitar line, the bongo drums in the background, the touches of xylophone/bells, to the comfortably dynamic arrangement. The melody is smooth but it's also catchy, which adds a more "mainstream," performance-ready dimension to the track -- I listen to "Give Love" and I can already imagine the staging and choreography. Suhyun's vocals aren't just easy on the ears, they "caress", yet the youthfulness of her voice and the imposing nature of the melody (against the arrangement, at least), keeps the whole song from becoming flat.

"Give Love" has everything I enjoy about AKMU precisely because it's just that -- an enjoyable song. And it's enjoyable because they've mastered the music enough to be able to do it effortlessly.


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