Dance music is a funny thing.
If there are too many layers, too much production or bombast, the song quickly becomes tiresome.
Yet, if things are too stripped down or repetitive, the producer can run the risk of the song becoming too repetitive or just plain boring.
Skillfully walking the tightrope that an upbeat pop song requires is “Shut Up U,” the new single from the seven-member South Korean girl group WA$$UP.
Just over a year after WA$$UP’s debut album “NOM NOM NOM” was released, the group is back, with their new album “Showtime” out on Tuesday.
The entire album features well-sculpted modern electro, but it is “Shut Up U” that brings together a near-perfect assemblage of organized chaos.
What sounds at first like pure pandemonium, takes shape quite beautifully, with melodic phrases and musical hooks that are difficult to shake off.
Originally conceptualized by record labels Sony Music and Mafia Record as the Korean answer to the twerking phenomenon Miley Cyrus helped set off during last year’s Video Music Awards, WA$$UP have proven themselves to be so much more.
Their energy and attitude is a welcome departure from the often safe and sterilized world of girl groups, something it seems like has been lacking in K-pop, particularly with Lee Hyori and 4Minute on extended absence from the pop charts.
Ironically, and perhaps even unintentionally, WA$$UP’s sound on their upbeat songs like “Shut Up U” is more reminiscent of the New Orleans bounce artists like Big Freedia or Sissy Nobby who started the ass-shaking-dance-turned-international-phenomenon, than anything Miley Cyrus ever touched.
But the bounce sound is just one ingredient in a tasty stew of influences.
With melodic hooks reminiscent of Western pop’s more adventurous artists like Kesha or the UK chanteuse Lily Allen, snare rolls that would be at home in a Mystikal track and a throbbing bassline that sounds like it was snatched right out of a rave set, “Shut Up U” could easily become a runaway train wreck.
Yet, as with any great chef, each of these inclusions has a distinct purpose.
And the artistry with which they are assembled proves, as does the rest of “Showtime,” that WA$$UP are way more then trend chasers, no matter what the label suits say.
Listen to “Shut Up U,” the new single from WA$$UP RIGHT HERE