Knee Jerk Reaction: “Killa” by MIRAE

MIRAE, the latest boy group from DSP Media, is the third rookie to debut this week. I literally know nothing about them except that one of the members is Son Dongpyo, who famously competed on Produce X 101 and was part of the short-lived X1. Plus there’s one other member was also on Produce X 101 and two who did Under Nineteen – but I don’t really recognize them because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the former and I never watched the latter. (Sorry!) So, I went into this music video with no idea what to expect.

MIRAE’s debut song “Killa” is a thrilling and fast-paced number heavily influenced by techno and EDM. I really try to avoid using comparisons between K-pop groups – especially if one is newly debuted – but this song reminds me so much of NCT 127’s “Superhuman.” I’m not saying they sound the same, because they don’t. But they both have elements like electronic embellishments, a strong dynamic beat, and soaring vocals. While they have similar foundations, one key difference is that “Killa” has a lot more rapping. “Superhuman” is one of the rare cases where the NCT 127 rappers kind of toned things down to match the energy of the rest of their group. “Killa,” on the other hand, is split more evenly between singing and rapping. And the rapping is incredibly powerful and definitely pushes the song’s energy levels.

It’s worth noting that “mirae” is the Korean word for “future,” and this new group has definitely made that the concept for their first release. Their stunning music video has a heavily futuristic aesthetic, featuring a world with robots, giant holograms, hover cars, and more. It makes me think of classic sci-fi movies like Blade Runner and Tron. The large neon signs and holograms across the city brings another film to mind, and I *think* it’s the Hollywood version of Ghost in the Shell. I actually spent about twenty minutes trying to decide if this was the correct reference, because I couldn’t remember if I’d actually seen it… but I watched the trailer on YouTube, and I’m 90% sure that’s what “Killa” reminds me of. I guess I’d seen it but blocked out most of it (XD). But regardless of my feelings about the movie, I did think the massive holograms were cool and I liked seeing something similar here.

I was also pretty impressed by the choreography. I really like the hard-hitting K-pop dances, but those seem to be going out of style these days. However, “Killa” truly goes to level 100 on the energy factor. Their jumps have some serious height, every movement is larger than life, and they stomp and clap so hard I can hear it over the music in the dance practice video. On top of that, the members are all perfectly synchronized like they’ve been dancing together for years. Rookies are generally quite ambitious and determined because they have a lot to prove, but I can definitely feel the passion that MIRAE has through their performance.

I mentioned before that Dongpyo is the only member I recognize. And as much as I like him, it’s nice to see that he’s not constantly in the center. Don’t get me wrong; I think he’s incredibly talented and definitely center material. But lots of agencies tend to push one member who’s well-known to the public to try and get the group’s name out there. This especially happens with groups that have former Produce 101 winner: like DIA and Chaeyeon, gugudan and Sejeong (and sort of Mina), CIX and Jinyoung, etc. Even newer groups like CRAVITY, Drippin, and WEi give a lot of focus to the X1 alums. And the problem with this strategy is that it’s not necessarily good for longevity – so far, not many groups with one much more famous member have withstood the test of time. So, I think it’s great that DSP Media is really giving ALL of the members of MIRAE a chance to shine with this debut.


(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.)

CategoryMy Opinion
Music VideoLike

“Killa” is a super solid debut for MIRAE. The music, choreography, and music video are all high-quality, and there’s a consistency between these three aspects that’s hard for rookie groups to get right off the bat. As I’ve said before, I’m being very picky about adding rookies to my long list of groups to listen to… so while I like everything about MIRAE so far, I’m not quite sure if I’m personally motivated to follow them more than casually (aka learn all their names, watch a bunch of their videos, etc.). Nonetheless, I’m very impressed by “Killa,” and I will certainly be keeping an eye on them in the future.

(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)

SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to DSP Media.

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