Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes #9: Super Junior

Oh wow, we’ve seen a lot less K-pop than I thought we would have by now!  In fact, since week one of Tuesday Tunes, we haven’t see anything.  Let’s fix that.

Considering the fact that KCON USA–two nights of concerts in Los Angeles featuring a dozen K-pop acts–just went down late last month, K-pop love is alive and well in the western hemisphere.  This was an event full of idols both past and present, including such fresh faces as Seventeen and Cosmic Girls.

But today we’re talking a K-pop veteran.  Now over ten years in the business, we’re talking Super Junior.

Super Junior

Established in 2005, Super Junior has gone on to be the best-selling K-pop artist four years running.  They’ve amassed over 29 music awards, and in 2015 they even won “International Artist” and “Best Fandom” at the Kid’s Choice Awards.  They have achieved a fan base across the globe, and are one of the most accomplished K-pop groups of the last decade.

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So where did this recognition originate?  Hands down, it has to be their single, “Sorry, Sorry”.  The title song of their most critically successful album, “Sorry, Sorry” was released in 2009 and holds influences from contemporary R&B as well as American funk.

The song was an instant hit, peaking at #1 on M.NET’s M!Countdown chart just one week after its release.  The music video was even featured on Perez Hilton’s blog the same day of its release.

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The music video itself features something that is culturally unique to the K-pop music business–a signature move.  Signature dance moves work as a gestural hook for the song.  Think like, “Bye, Bye, Bye”–if you know the song, you know the move.  Even if you’ve never even seen N’Sync’s music video for the song, you probably know that dance move and you most likely can’t help but to do it when the song comes on.  It’s effective, right?

That’s the hook that heavily prevalent in K-pop.  In fact, K-pop composers admit to composing music with a signature move in mind.  For  “Sorry, Sorry”, you’ll see that the signature move of the video is the palm-rubbing sequence you see as they sing the chorus, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.”  This is something that the composer of the song, Yoo Young Jin, had in mind when creating the song–distinct gestures used to emphasize the strong musical parts of the song.

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Arguably Super Junior’s greatest hit to date, “Sorry, Sorry” is incredibly catchy and remarkably choreographed.  It is the ultimate example of a K-pop group at its pinnacle.

There are actually two versions of the music video.  One has a more cinematic touch which includes single shots of all the members in their solo parts.  The other–which I prefer–is a single shot rendition of the full dance routine.  And it’s sick.  That’s the one I’m posting today.

What’s your favorite Super Junior song?

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