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K-Pop Throwback: miss A's 2011 Hit 'Breathe' Still Sounds Like Nothing Else [VIDEO]

By Jesse Lent | July 02, 2015 05:28 PM EDT

Any music fan that exploring beyond their national borders knows the reward in seeking music from other cultures is that it can often introduce you to sounds you could have never imagined.

Even when artists from far away places use the same musical raw materials as acts you are familiar with, like hip-hop, rock or funk, the end result can often be something startlingly different.

With elements of trot (Korea's oldest known popular music), reggaeton and electro and a vocal sound devoid of digital gimmickry, miss A's 2011 hit single "Breathe" from their album "Step Up," continues to sound as inventive and original as the day it was released.

Like reggaeton, trot music is mainly characterized by its one-two, one-two rhythmic pattern. "Breathe" producer (and the CEO of K-pop record label JYP Entertainment) J.Y. Park brilliantly marries the two styles with a synthesizer sound reminiscent of 1960s science fiction.

As the synths squelch over the propulsive rhythm track, the four members of miss A each turn in relaxed, sunny vocals that somehow dial in a sunny Californian pop rock sound while still delivering the passion that Hallyu fans demand. Going against insipid trends toward pitch correction in pop music that have only gotten worse in the four years since "Breathe" came out, Park opts to keep the vocals front, center and raw with barely a trace of reverb or digital mumbo jumbo of any kind.

It is perhaps this decision to keep the vocals cranked in the mix with doubled melodies serving as the only safety net that makes "Breathe" reminiscent of West Coast performers from Stevie Nicks to Sheryl Crow. But other sounds are in play as well. There is an electro slickness in "Breathe," for example, reminiscent of some of Diplo's older beats.

It all comes together to form a style that is, without a doubt, worth another listen.

Watch the music video for miss A's 2011 hit "Breathe" from the album "Step Up" RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  miss A, Breathe, Step Up, K-Pop Throwback

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