The K-Pop 100: Idol Group Songs – #70~#61

[The K-Pop 100: Idol Group Songs]

#100 – #91
#90 – #81
#80 – #71
#70 – #61
#60 – #51
#50 – #41
#40 – #31
#30 – #21
#20 – #11
#10 – #1

70. Cleo – Ready For Love

Cleo - Ready For Love

From Ready For Love (2000)
Label: Ho Entertainment
Composition/Arrangement: Kim Dong-young
Writing: Kim Tae-yoon
Links: music video, live

The melody has a bit of that 90s Korean ballad feel – like Star In My Heart stuff. The techno accompaniment that kicks in soon washes that away, but the song remains impossibly cheery. While I don’t think Cleo ever really got out of FIN.K.L.’s shadow, this one moment was fully their own.

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Top 100 (Korean) Songs of the Decade: #50~41

Previous Entry (#60~51):

50. 싸이 (Psy) – 챔피언 (Champion)
Album: 3싸이 (3Psy)
Release: 9-19-2002

This tune here probably sounds familiar to you. It’s the famous “Axel F” track from Beverly Hills Cop; Psy was by no means the first artist to sample it, but he probably did put the weirdest spin on it. This reimagining is based on techno, with old-school synthesizer and analog drum machine filling the beat. The familiar melody is used as an intro and background, throughout and up to the chorus; the actual chorus and tune are original.

A majority of Psy’s songs have this in common: they are extremely danceable. That means they’re upbeat, energetic, vibrant, and entertaining, with a bit of the magic ingredient (whatever it may be) that completes the concoction. His greatest hits were all that way–“Bird”, “Celeb”, “We Are The One”, and the most recent “Right Now” all followed that formula. “Champion” is one of those songs as well: the supercharged beat is there, as described, and Psy’s signature entertaining, not-quite-virtuoso-but-good-to-the-ear rapping makes the rest of it. As a club anthem, it fits the bill; as a pick-me-up, it works equally well. But this one’s different from Psy’s other similar successes by way of a message. The lyrics are pretty funny, but this time they have an important empowerment theme. The titular “champion”, as Psy makes very clear about 400 times, is you. It’s you because you shout. It’s you because you rock to music. Because you enjoy life. Because it’s you. Because you’re you. And you’re a champ.

[As an aside,  this is a track perfectly suited to a concert, which Psy knows. Hence the remix of this song, which is breathtaking–full orchestra and band accompaniment, with scale befitting one of his year-end concerts. I almost consider it better than this version, but as far as I know there is only one location on the Internet where it is still publicly available, and it cannot be linked to.]

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