As retro influences begin to find their way back into K-pop, which can be better exploited than J.Y. Park? After all, he built his career on retro sounds – even with Disco on the 1997 classic She Was Pretty. New single When We Disco pairs him with the former protégé (and retro lover) Sunmi and delivers an unabashed love letter to the past. It's more pastiche than pioneer, but that's not a bad thing at all.
Especially when it's disco fun. And in an industry full of capricious, evil concepts that are becoming an underestimated quality. It's clear the song doesn't take itself too seriously, and that becomes apparent from the first moment when the revamped introduction gives way to a synth-heavy Italo-disco beat. The production feels appropriately processed – sparse and a little thin, but it hits the mood of its time. Disco or not, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear a K-pop track with constant percussion that doesn't force yourself into unnecessary tempo changes and annoying glitches.
J.Y. Park and Sunmi are the perfect duo to harness the goofy energy of disco. They lean on the self-confident parody of the whole thing, but have enough respect for the source material to make disco feel like a real pop song. And while the melody is largely based on reclaimed flourishes from the genre they choose, the two offer passionate, emotional performances that really bring them to life. The swelling of the choir meets the kind of nostalgia that tracks like this one thrive on. Sometimes it's all a little bit Eurovision, but camp is an underrated art form. When it works it can be an utter joy.
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Keywords: j.y. Park, Jyp, K-Pop, Kpop, Park Jinyoung, Rating 8, Rating, Sunmi. Bookmark the permalink.