[#32] Seo Taiji - "Prison Break"

From: "Quiet Night"
Released: October
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: first appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "잃어버린"

I'm of the belief that no self-respecting K-Pop fan has the right to not know Seo Taiji, even just by name -- his contributions to the K-Pop we know now are not only massive, but definitive. We know YG because of his direct, corporate connections to K-Pop but without Seo Taiji the course of K-Pop, as a whole, would've been very different. Because I missed his last comeback in 2009 and he's pretty much been inactive since (except for that whole "scandal" a while back), I made it a point to listen to "Quiet Night," and for the most part I liked what I heard.

What I liked about "Prison Break" in particular is partially how it's intelligent, well-done, unpretentious pop -- but more so that it sounds so much like the Brit Pop I used to listen to, while at the same time it's also its own song. The chorus is so Robbie Williams/Take That -- sophisticated, highly stylized vocals. And the whole song actually has this sophisticated, ethereal, yet still very much pop, aura.

People think "electronica" is just throwing a few synth loops or "beats" together and making them go on for three and a half minutes when that's greatly oversimplifying. "Prison Break" still has a sense of dynamics that marks the clear structure -- you know when it's a verse, bridge, chorus, hook. The mix of synths, electric guitar and snare drum rolls gives that air of "composition," that this was a song that was composed in every sense of the word.

So what happens when it's well-composed? Well, you get a song that's a pleasure to listen to, that during each listen you notice another intricacy in the instrumental or arrangement. It's intelligent pop, and you all know how much I like that kind of pop.


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