[#26] 2000Won - "By My Side"

From: "1st Mini Album"
Released: April
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2013: [#32] "Elevator"
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "서울이 싫어졌어"

Of all the Kpop Star seasons that have aired in full so far season 2 remains my favorite, for the simple reason that most of the finalists were more than just your typical ballad singer or soloist who wins with a repertoire of stock covers. The performances during Kpop Star 2, mainly because of the presence of 2000WON, Raccoon Boys, and winners AKMU, were both creative and technically proficient. Each show was exactly that -- a show that entertained with music on top of the survival format.

2000Won were one of my favorites -- they caught my ear during their first audition because of the way they carried themselves on stage. A strong stage presence on top of competent, practiced vocals (and rap I assume) that performed unexpected arrangements was enough to convince me.

So I was rather disappointed with their first proper, post-Kpop Star release, save for "By My Side." The rest of the EP was competent, but not stellar -- even the Ailee collaboration, which to me sounded like a brilliant idea, was cheesy and didn't do any of them justice. I liked "By My Side" in particular because the composition itself is cool and laid-back with the lazy/jazz-y synths and the mid-tempo bass+drum lines, but 2000Won's performance gives it the punch it needs. The vocals are smooth but slightly raw, the rap equally smooth but at the same time mischievous, and the performance as a whole has an effortless intensity to it.

"By My Side" has the slick yet ever so slightly mischievous 2000Won that I knew and liked -- it's a song that's heavily dependent on how it's carried, and boy is it carried effortlessly.


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