Where have all the cowboys gone? We haven't seen such a dearth of men since the great Kpop drought of '07. Enter Lee Kwang Soo. For all the Kpop fans who have been waiting patiently for 2015 to begin in earnest, wait no more. “FruTips” signals more than just the maturation of a promising career. It's the first truly spectacular music video of what will surely be a big year for Kpop, and a monster year for Kwang Soo.
“FruTips,” part of Kwang Soo’s third mini album, Things I Eat, is the next in what is becoming a long line of hit singles. His debut single, “Fanta Drink” (feat. Eunji and Niel) was well-received when it came out in 2012, and the impressive follow-up, “Fanta Time,” one year later, solidified his reputation as a fierce performer. With his boundless charisma, it’s only a matter of time before he is picked up for a guest appearance on a variety show or drama!
Performance-first has, until now, been the defining feature of Lee Kwang Soo’s career in Kpop. But “FruTips” is more than a scintillating collection of perfectly executed dance steps; this is Kwang Soo’s first vocally impressive single. Fans finally have a chance to hear the idol’s range, which is surprisingly good here.
More than a typical ballad would, “FruTips” gives Kwang Soo license to explore. Featuring a rap from Lou Fang, “FruTips” is a mashup of trot and screamo that, to this reviewer’s knowledge, has never before been done. To find something truly innovative in pop music is rare, and quite refreshing. True, Kwang Soo’s work remains very commercial, very focused on the lowest-common denominator. But sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes Kpop needs an idol who is willing to give the fans exactly the kind of sugary substance they crave.
Zander Stachniak is a southern-born, Chicago-based writer who first discovered Kpop through ShoutCast Radio. His biases are f(x) and Block B.