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Review: SPEED Demand Your Attention On Their Bold And Thunderous New Single 'What U' [VIDEO]

By Jesse Lent | June 01, 2015 11:35 PM EDT


Gregorian chant isn't typically known for getting the party started.

But as one tool in the extensive sonic toolbox the South Korean boy band SPEED employs on their new single "What U," released on Monday, the genre receives as festive a treatment as it has on any dance hit this side of Enigma.

But the Gregorian-esque background vocals are just one aspect of the complexly arranged sonic landscape of "What U." With symphonic string samples and an opening drum hook straight out of Lorde's 2013 breakout hit "Royals" blending with the more standard Hallyu influences of rock, rap and electro, SPEED's new single offers the best of the type of blending of eclectic styles that K-pop is known for.

SPEED and their production team may have been inspired by the song that took Lorde all the way to performing onstage with the surviving members of Nirvana at the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they certainly beefed it up a bit.

The opening drum strains of "What U" are nothing short of thunderous.

The blending of electric guitar with an aggressive hip-hop production approach that is reminiscent or mid-period Dr. Dre, is another one of the inspired aspects of SPEED's latest offering.

While the vocals also offer a varied mix (even beyond the Gregorian parts, there's a lot of idiomatic diversity here) if there is one area of complaint, it is that some of the vocals sound a bit too forced and in some places fail to stand out from the ever-increasing herd of K-pop boy bands.

It should be said however, that the vocals on "What U" sound better upon repeated listens, with the rap at 2:11 being a definite highpoint.

There's no doubt the members of SPEED have what it takes to be at the top of the South Korean pop scene. If only they could get with a producer who allows them to take as many risks vocally as they are musically on "What U" and turns off that Auto-Tune.

Watch the music video for the latest single from the K-pop boy band SPEED, "What U" RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  SPEED, what u


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