Park Ji Yoon – Beep
Talk about a comeback! February is turing into a hot month in kpop with Park Ji Yoon’s release of Beep. It’s a funky and soulful dance track that references American 1970’s R&B straight out of the Soul Train pantheon. I’ll talk more about that more later, but first lets get straight to the song.
I love this song. The song kicks off with a disco inspired beat that I’d expect San Francisco Dance-Music Queen Sylvester to have produced. Do you wanna funk? Indeed. Beep is infectiously cactchy with amazing hooks and Ji Yoon’s vocals are once again on point. Her Beep Beeps and Bow wow wows will keep you bopping your head over and over. I especially love the “what what what what what…” portion of the song. To say the song is fierce fun funky and fresh is an understatement. It’s so completely fabulous that I halfway expect one of the Queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race to show up and turn it out. If I had my choice it would be Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon in their best Soul Train bell bottoms and wigs. The song is going is a strong contender for Song of the Month.
I’m not digging it. I’m loving it. Somebody call McDonalds.
The video from a kpop standpoint is completely off the chain. Their is nothing normal or run of the mill happening here. I especially love the retro production of the video that makes it look like we’re actually watching Soul Train. It adds a legitimacy to the song as it harkens back to the late 1970’s paying homage to great artists like Prince. Those under a certain age might not remember Soul Train at all. Soul Train was a heavily Black-American focused dance and music show which first aired in syndication in 1971 and didn’t end its run until 2006. That’s a solid 35 years and remains today to be the longest running syndicated television show in American history. Soul Train is an enormously important cultural phenomenon that brought a stage, on television, to a new demographic of the American landscape which didn’t really have a national exposure. It was a response to American Bandstand, another long running music and dance show, but that show rarely featured any non-white acts or dancers prior to Soul Train making a splash. In my opinion, Soul Train is why in the 1990’s we had shows dance shows on Mtv’s Spring Break and largely led the way for music countdown shows the way we know them today. Without Soul Train we would not have seen a diversification of music that was allowed to be on television and shows like TRL (remember when Mtv was cool? I do.) and any number of Korean shows like M! Countdown. Referencing this aspect of American culture so directly could have been a huge mistake or a huge win if done right and I’m happy to say that despite some rather strange use of stereotypes (the introduction for example) the music video gets it right. I felt the video honored the history and heritage of the music and venue that came before it in a way that may turn some off due to their lack of history regarding soul music. Bravo!
Aside from the interesting cultural connections we see in the video it’s just simply fun. Sure, it references a time when most of the people reading this parent’s are old enough to remember Soul Train but, I don’t think it’ll matter because the fun factor is so high. Cameos are everywhere with my favorites being Noh Hong Cul, Muzie, and of course my ultimate bias looking so sick Jay Park. They add a bit of humor to the video that splices together Korean dancers dancing right along with black dancers from today and what looks to be original footage from Soul Train circa 1978. If the producers of the video didn’t use some Soul Train footage that is some uncanny wardrobing they accomplished.
Bow wow wow wow…what what what what what what what what what you ask?
I love this. I love everything about Beep.
The total package, perfect 10/10.