What makes a K-pop song a classic?
For the purposes of this review column, for which this happens to be the first installment, it's more than chart success or a music video with millions of YouTube views. Rather, we're going with classic in the timeless sense--songs that sound as good today as the day they were released and will probably sound just as good when we're all old and grey.
That's why my first selection for this high honor goes to "See Through," the highly funky 2012 dance track from South Korean musician and producer Primary, featuring vocalist Zion.T and rapper Gaeko of the hip-hop act Dynamic Duo.
On "See Through," Primary was clearly drawing from modern dance floor innovators from Kanye West to Frank Ocean, but there is also the clever mixture of early East Coast rap with a dash of Nile Rodgers-produced '70s disco.
One of the things that make Primary a strong contender for the best producer ever to come out of South Korea, is that he doesn't ever seem to have any detectable formula. He is clearly just going for the groove the feels the best to him. Besides, any artist whose onstage persona includes throwing a cardboard box with a beak over his head, is someone I want to learn more about.
The other thing that makes Primary Korea's preeminent producer is his eye for talent, specifically as it relates to who would sound best on which song--the mark of any great studio wiz. From Zion.T's burning vocal hook to Gaeko's brief but spot-on rap, the pair creates the perfect one-two punch on the mic.
The result is a sound that never fails to make an impact.
Listen to the 2012 Primary single "See Through" featuring Zion.T and Dynamic Duo member Gaeko RIGHT HERE