February 1st, 2013
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Two wrongs may not make a right, but sometimes it’s amazing just how brilliant two train wrecks colliding can be. For example, prog rock and 80′s power ballads may number among the worst musical styles of the 20th century, but come together nicely with the technical precision of indie band Fang Island.
The same cannot be said for 2Yoon’s “24/7″, the lead single off their debut album Harvest Moon. The song combines the twee upper-middle class take on country music currently plaguing US indie pop (cough…the Lumineers) with a Disneyfied hoedown that apes Miley Cyrus. First, how sad is it that there have now been two missed opportunities for “Hoedown Throwdown” to feature redneck girls mud wrestling? Second, while “24/7″ is ultimately a failure, like Texas it fails big and gloriously. It’s also an ambitious, creative effort that earned my respect, if not a top spot on my playlist.
While this is the debut single for 2Yoon, members Heo Ga-yoon and Jeon Ji-yoon (get it?) have been releasing tracks since 2009 as part of 4minute. With the success of Hyuna’s solo releases, the executives at Cube Entertainment must have thought it was worth trying again with more side projects. There’s no scheduled comeback for 4minute yet, so it’s got to be hard being So-hyun or Ji-hyun, the two remaining members without a subgroup. If they do form a subgroup continuing the theme of bizarre Western pop crossover hits, I suggest…gospel choir flash mob. Though it’s honestly going to be hard top 2Yoon’s country-pop efforts in peculiarity.
As for the song, “24/7″ fully adopts the country structure, with simplistic chords, standard verse-bridge-chorus formula, and a full bluegrass band providing instrumentals. Your opinion of the song will thus depend on how well you like American country, which is to say that they’ve fully captured the country style, if nothing else.
The rapping is atrocious. I think it’s equally a reflection of bad writing and poor performance, but even with multiple vocals layered, the producers couldn’t give Ga-yoon rhythm. However, her delivery of the (fairly dark) lines she sings in the bridge were the highlight of the entire song for me.
More broadly the lyrics in this song differ from almost any other K-Pop song. The lyrics are world-weary instead of naive, resigning rather than encouraging and promoting selfishness rather than altruism. The peppy chorus has a dark gritty edge that advocates dancing, but only because the singers have run out of other options. They wouldn’t be out of place amidst the upper-tier catalogs of top country western performers, and I mean that as a compliment.
The video completely misrepresents this, however, by showing a softly-lit, preciously-dressed fantasy world that chooses Disney characters over emotional depth. The only thing missing are tumbleweeds, which are no doubt too busy filling the heads of the adorably stupid village folk. While the extended video suggests this is a fantasy escape for them, that still doesn’t excuse the cardboard performances given by the main singers. ‘Dream World’ is a beautiful place, but it’s capturing a very different image than the lyrics suggest.
Ultimately, despite some vocal problems, it’s the indie-pop aesthetic that keeps this single from reaching it’s full potential. I really wish they would have visually explored their glam country side, instead of heaping on the urban outfitters costumes and the wide-eyed manic pixie dreamgirl stares. I wanted the rhinestones and hair of Dolly Parton crossed with the shameless preening of Billy Ray Cyrus; not only because of the increase in novelty, but because these artists better capture the lyric’s aesthetic.
Beyond the lyrics, there are several other redeeming qualities to the song, particularly in the context of it’s release. K-Pop is frequently redundant, and it’s refreshing to see a group go in a different direction. This song demands that you form an opinion, good or bad, and it’s likely one of the few songs I’ll remember into 2014. Plus, it’s fun. I live and work on the 5th floors of buildings, and sometimes I play this song and bob like a chicken as I climb the stairs. (Maybe just ignore that last one)