2014 saw the release of quite a few summer songs, some of the more notable ones being: Girl's Day's "Darling," Jay Park's "So Good," and just about everything Sistar released, including "Touch My Body" and "I Swear." But it's hard to say if any of those or any other song typified the season in such a way to be considered the quintessential Song of this Summer. Understand, here: There are songs that take place in the summer, that have that summer aesthetic: sunny days, beaches, sundresses and basketball, ice cream and parties, and there is the Song of the Summer.
The Song of the Summer is defined by more abstract qualities - feelings even - linked with catchy lyrics and exuberant joy, of just the right song to play on that hot summer day, sometimes despite ourselves. We're talking about a song like PSY's "Gangnam Style." Last year that song was certainly Crayon Pop's "Bar Bar Bar."
This release came out of nowhere and, to Crayon Pop's credit, charmed the nation and went viral. The Song of the Summer often does that - so charming that it's irresistible, inevitable in enveloping everyone in its auditory pop nirvana.
No song like that has jumped out at us this summer, especially with all the trauma of 2014 and idols going for edgier, more understated material. So we were surprised to feel that, perhaps, as we begin winter, that song has finally arrived. Inexplicably, Wa$$up's "Shut up U" may just be that song we've been looking for. It just got the timing all wrong. Have you seen their live performances?
We're just going to say it. In a dreary winter season, with Kpop fans limping to the finish line, Wa$$up's "Shut up U," is just the song we needed. About six months ago. But better late than never, right? It's a bright exit through the dark tunnel of 2014.
We're not even saying it's the best song of the year or that Wa$$up has remarkably elevated their game. It's quite similar to "Nom Nom Nom" in its quasi-hip hop fun.
They even had a summer song last year, "Hotter than a Summer" (again, not the Song of the Summer), released, appropriately, in September. But not even that song has the relentless catchiness of "Shut Up U," a song that, for whatever reason, embodies summer without having to personify it.
"Shut Up U" typifies the Song of the Summer - it's simple, a mix of hip hop and light pop, with some trap elements. The choreography often makes the girls look like they're caught in a cool summer breeze, and the lyrics will stick with you in their repetition: "Work for me baby, work for me baby, you've got to work for me work for me work for me baby." This song will make you feel like dancing, even your non-Kpop loving friends will admit to loving it. It will remind you of taking a drive to the beach. Of wading in the water. Or just dancing at your friend's barbecue.
And of course, we have Nari being the star she's destined to be. And Nada being an amazing rapper, Dain looking gorgeous, and everyone having their moment to shine (but maybe not as a big a moment as Nari, Nada, and Dain collectively share). I am, of course, referencing the music video that has been impossible to view for many (more on that in a bit).
In short, even though this song is six months too late, it's a song that we desperately need right now, and we're glad it's here. Relieved, even. We don't understand why the music video won't show up in America (Wa$$up videos have had this delay before), but you can watch it at the end of their Pops in Seoul segment here, though it cuts off at the end.
It seems strange and counter-intuitive to not release the music video everywhere, especially in America where much of the aesthetic of Wa$$up originates from. Hopefully this will change soon. Kpop fans need this song, where more scandals have erupted and big releases are limited. Wa$$up's "Shut Up U" is the perfect way to end this miserable year, with the hope of sunshine in 2015. Christmas in July? Wa$$up inverts the old saying here, and we're thankful to get some July during the long Christmas season.
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.