Lim Young Woong is a chart behemoth in Korea, but I’ve never featured his music on the blog before. His beginnings in trot music marked him as someone just outside the idol landscape, but as soon as the first teaser dropped for new single Do Or Die my interest was piqued. He’s made a complete 180 here, opting for early-2010’s EDM that feels miles away from today’s trends.
I’m hopelessly biased toward this sound. With each year that passes, I realize how highly I prize the 2010-13 era of pop music. Maximalism was the norm, driven by big, glistening melodies and dramatic instrumentals. Do Or Die would feel right at home during that period. In fact, it sounds more than a little like The Wanted’s Chasing The Sun. So while my critical mind pegs this as generic right off the bat, my subjective nostalgia for this style makes the track almost bulletproof.
Lim Young Woong sounds surprisingly comfortable within this soundscape, his voice matching intensity with the bombastic production. A few well-placed power notes would have been appreciated, but the natural peaks of the melody provide enough space for him to show off. And though the track is so derivative that AI could have written it, it knows how to hit all the pleasure centers in listeners’ brains. I hope its inevitable chart dominance spurs other acts to deliver more nuanced and interesting takes on this genre.