Op-Ed: Top 10 K-Pop of 2013

Client: Dazed Digital

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1. T.O.P – “Doom Dada”

Big Bang’s rapper T.O.P has never felt like your average popstar. He’s feline-sleek yet awkward, and no amount of media training has quelled his fascinating combination of chilly reserve and childlike whimsy. Like the man himself, “Doom Dada” is unexpected and, from a pop standpoint, virtually impenetrable on the first go. The lyrical rhythms are both inviting and alienating, while the beats align to trap and M.I.A’s jagged tribalism. But go deeper and recognisable cadences reveal themselves…. it’s K-Pop but sly, frenetic and slippery. The pinching from Dali, “Space Odyssey 2001”, and “The Good, The Bad and The Weird” is shameless but thrilling, challenging MV production out of the couple-ring chucking, piano burning cul-de-sac its been squatting in for too long, like a shiny Ferrari jacked up on bricks.

You might ask why we would award the #1 slot to a track that didn’t want to be K-Pop, but as a product of T.O.P and producer Choice37, both unquestionably ingrained within the genre, “Doom Dada” can be nowhere else but the top spot. The dissection and progressive reassembling of existing music and culture gave K-Pop its edge, but it now has a concrete history and with that, a set of cliches it’s already begun to impale itself upon. Eventually, as Western pop has done for decades, it will be a case of evolve or die. T.O.P won’t be single-handedly leading this but his label YG can – “Doom Dada” (and its surprising success) is the enthralling, intriguing evidence.

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