Back to the past: K-pop scene goes retro with songs from the 90s and 2000s

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) – Taking a trip down memory lane has always been an option for many musicians. But the K-pop scene seems to be turning more and more towards these oldies but goodies before the summer.

The move comes a year after project group SSAK3 reached the top of the national music charts. Like its band name “ssaksseuri”, Korean slang meaning “clean sweep,” it has swept the summer music scene in 2020.

The trio – consisting of comedian-host Yoo Jae-suk and ’90s-2000s star singers Lee Hyo-ri of girl group FIN.KL and male soloist Rain – topped the charts with their remake of the Summer Song. “In Summer”, a catchy dance hit released by Deux in 1994.

Most recently, male vocal group SG Wannabe caused a stir on the “Hangout with Yoo” TV show, singing their biggest hits of the mid-2000s. Videos showing the members singing have racked up millions of views on YouTube, viewers commenting on how touched they were after watching the trio’s vocals mature over the years.

Now, young artists are also turning to retro, recreating songs that were popular long before the K-pop scene turned into the meticulous and glitzy empire it is today.

One singer who seems to be wholeheartedly embracing the trend is the Joy of K-pop girl group Red Velvet, a group known for their hypnotic and addicting sound that was considered experimental even in the K-pop industry.

The 24-year-old recently released her first solo EP “Hello”, containing six tracks from 1996 to 2003, including those made before she was born. The tracks range from the catchy and upbeat main song “Hello”, a remake of Park Hye-kyoung’s 2003 song, to R&B numbers, like “Day by Day” by As One (1999).

Saying that her priority was to preserve the feel of the original songs, Joy said she was referring to magazines and films from that era, such as the hugely popular romantic comedy “My Sassy Girl” (2001).

“My # 1 goal was not to damage the feeling of the original songs. I didn’t want the (remade version) to sound like completely different songs. At the same time, I thought about how I could use my music. voice for a unique advantage, ”she said at a press conference.

His strategy hit the nail on the head, with the lead song “Hello” debuting at No. 1 on some national music charts and the album swept through the charts on iTunes’ top albums in 26 regions.

Chungha, the spirited soloist who has released hits like “Gotta Go”, “Stay Tonight” and “Play”, is another singer who recently performed a new version of Sharp’s 2001 hit “My Lips Like Warm Coffee”, one of the few mixed groups that rose to popularity in K-pop history.

For the song that remains one of Sharp’s greatest hits, Chungha teamed up with singer-songwriter Colde. The two, both in their 20s, cut back on some rap parts and added more vocals in the process of turning the band’s song into a song for a duet.

The 2021 version of Chungha and Colde landed at No. 1 on the national music charts, like Genie Music and Bugs Music, upon its release.

Paul Kim, who collaborated with Joy on a Sung Si-kyung song in his debut EP, is another K-pop soloist who borrowed songs from the past for a summer project.

He recently unveiled the summer project “School Trip ‘Summer: re'”, a collection of three remade summer issues from the late 90s and early 2000s. They include the mega-bit “Love on the Beach” from the Cool 1997 mixed trio “Love on the Beach”, Sung’s 2002 song “Perfect Match” and 2001 UN male duo’s dance song “Wave”.

Some singers, meanwhile, have decided to release updated versions of songs they have sung in the past.

Soloist Baek Ji-young, known for her poignant voice, and hip-hop duo Mighty Mouth have released a new take on their 2010 collaboration “Will Love Ever Come Again” in 11 years. The three added more jazz sounds to the song which was originally released as an electronic dance floor merged with hip-hop.

Soloist NS Yoon-G, who moved on to an acting career, also released her song “If You Love Me” in nine years. The singer, who initially collaborated with hip-hop musician Jay Park, worked with Joohoney, a member of boy band Monsta X, for the 2021 release.

About Raymond Lang

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