[#19] Royal Pirates - "You"

From: "Drawing The Line"
Released: January
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: first appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "Love Toxic", "See What I See", "Fly To You", "Drawing The Line"

I admit that I hardly ever venture outside of idol releases nowadays, mainly because I hardly have the time to stay updated on mainstream kpop, what more the rest of the industry. But if there's one thing I tried to start this year, it's that I consciously tried to check out a few non-idol releases every now and then. Royal Pirates was part of that conscious effort because while their music is more or less mainstream, they would've never gotten on my radar if not for a friend's recommendation.

As someone who grew up with late 90s/early 2000s pop and pop/rock -- slick band arrangements, catchy melodies and all -- Royal Pirates' first EP was a gold mine of great material, so much so that I had a difficult time choosing which song to include on this countdown.

I chose "You" because I think out of all the tracks Royal Pirates released this year, this is the one with the potential to last. "You" is less about following trends and more about genuinely strong songwriting, coupled with production quality and execution that does it justice. This isn't a song that's melody-dependent or arrangement-dependent, it's both.

Obviously because Royal Pirates are a band you'd expect a strong arrangement, which we get on "You." It's a nice, graceful build-up -- from the lone acoustic guitar at the first verse, to the full but not full-on band set-up at the first chorus with drums, bass and electric guitar, to the progression to a sharp, snappy second verse and the full band for the rest of the track. It's an arrangement that keeps you on your toes but doesn't shock, which works well with the quaint melody that, for lack of a better term, is very melodic.

"You" is the type of song I can imagine kids with guitars practicing at home, it's the type of song that has what I call "talent show audition potential," because it's well-composed but at the same time very versatile -- "You" could have been all-acoustic, it could have had a full band throughout, it can do this and that. It's that kind of versatility, one that stems from musical proficiency, that makes a classic.


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