As part of my New Year’s resolution to write more original content, I wanted to bring back my reviews. I really enjoyed writing them, and I’ve been looking for the opportunity to start them up again. However, they are INCREDIBLY time-consuming – it usually took me a week to write each one, and that was back when I didn’t have a job. Sadly, I know I won’t have time to write a full in-depth review for every K-pop song I’m interested in. BUT, I’m introducing a new column that will hopefully help me cover more songs! As you can guess from the title, it’s called “Knee Jerk Reaction.” (I tried to find a phrase with a “K” to match “Katherine” and “K-pop.”) A knee jerk reaction is typically an automatic response without thinking, so these posts will be my first thoughts right after I watch a new K-pop music video (and maybe a performance if one is available before I post). I’ll talk about my general opinions and initial reactions, and discuss my overall interest in the comeback or debut – so it’s very stream of consciousness and 100% subjective. For my very first post, I’ve chosen a group that I’ve become interested in over the last few months – rising rookies TREASURE.
“My Treasure” is your typical bright and upbeat pop song, released as the lead single to celebrate TREASURE’s very first album. I wouldn’t quite call it bubblegum pop, but it’s pretty darn close. I was low-key shocked on the first listen, because it’s the least YG like song I’ve ever heard (not that that’s a bad thing). Yet I know that TREASURE is a diverse and talented group, so it was no surprise that they can pull it off. They do a really good job of bringing those feel-good vibes with their sweet and soothing vocals. In contrast to their previous singles, “My Treasure” leaves a lot more room for them to infuse some feeling and emotion into their singing, and it really lets their main vocals like Yedam and Jeongwoo shine. I was wondering how the rappers would fit into this bright and bubbly style, given that they’ve established some pretty charismatic personas. It was nice to see that they toned it down and were able to blend into the overall picture – though they do have a little kick that provides just the right amount of variety for an otherwise pretty smooth song.
I’m not going to lie: the minute I looked at the music video, I could see that it was not for me. In other words, it’s blatantly obvious that I’m not in TREASURE’s intended demographic. I’ve actually always known that, and I haven’t considered moving beyond “casual listener” status anyway… but the music video just made it incredibly apparent that TREASURE is building a fanbase of teenagers and maybe college-age students. It’s bright and colorful (I think I saw every color of the rainbow), and it’s filled with sparkles, flowers, and smiley faces. To a 30 year old like me, it just looks extremely young – which is not a bad thing at all, but definitely something I don’t vibe with. So after I watched the music video, I immediately thought, “I like TREASURE and this is cute, but I don’t think I’ll be too invested in this comeback.”
That being said, I watched this performance clip immediately after… and I found myself grinning the whole way through. There was just something so heartwarming about it. Truthfully, I don’t even really remember what the dance looked like outside the key points, but I just couldn’t help but smile at how cute and wholesome they were. It’s kind of like the reaction I have when my students do well. “My Treasure” may not be my style, but I think it’s really well-done. And while my age gap with TREASURE has me looking at them like they’re the same age as my pre-teen students, I do find that fresh sweetness charming in their own way. If they had existed when I was a teenager, I would have probably been so into them.
While I was surprised by TREASURE’s choice to push such a happy and clean cut image, I ultimately think it’s the right move. I usually ask my students about K-pop so I can find out which groups are really popular. Up until now, TXT is the only newer boy group that’s made it onto their radar – which I think is because of how fun and fresh their music sounds. I’m not saying that “My Treasure” sounds like a TXT song, but it does have a similar feel-good vibe that I think would bring in more fans like my students. Out of TREASURE’s songs so far, I think that “My Treasure” is definitely the one with the best chance of appealing to the general public. So, I’ll be interested to see how well they do with this comeback – and I think they will definitely have good results.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
Objectively, I feel that the song and dance for “My Treasure” are both great. But I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again – this kind of music is just not my thing. Maybe it’s just my cynical nature, but I run hot and cold on the bright happy songs. And the glaring reminder of how much older I am as a K-pop fan just kind of clinches it for me. Truthfully, I can’t see myself listening to “My Treasure” much beyond the promotion period – though I might occasionally listen to it when I really need some happy vibes, because it’s a definite mood booster. And I don’t see myself really investing into TREASURE more than I already have at this point. I’m happy to stay a casual listener. But I think TREASURE has done a great job with this comeback. A full album is a milestone moment for a K-pop group, and “My Treasure” is a song that’s definitely worthy of being the lead single.
SOURCES: Featured image and music video belong to YG Entertainment. The linked performance video was posted on 1theK’s YouTube channel.