Ever since the finale of Produce X 101 and later, the dissolution of project group X1, we’ve been seeing a steady stream of debuts from units or groups comprised of members that gained new found popularity through the show. And while some have been quite great, most have been pretty middling to just flat out bad. So while I was enticed by the teasers for DSP Media’s MIRAE, I kept my reservations. I mean I still had expectations. And who wouldn’t given that they hail from the same company as the likes of KARA (arguably my favourite girl group of all time), SS501, Rainbow, APRIL and many other great acts. All of which I have a bias to in some regard. But I shouldn’t have been worried at all, because with the futuristic dance pop assault of Killa, Mirae have absolutely blasted onto the scene with one of the most striking debuts in recent memory.
Is there something in the water lately? Why have we been getting so many showstoppers? I mean I’m not complaining at all but the sheer strength of the material coming out of Korea so far this year has honestly been incredible. Especially after the rather underwhelming slate of releases we saw for most of 2020. January had Golden Child’s stunning Burn It and February was just full of too many instant classics to name. And while it may have only been released a few hours ago, I’m ready to put Mirae’s Killa right up there with the big guns. This is classic K-pop at its biggest and most propulsive and for someone who thrives on a sense of bombast, this is right up my alley.
Opening with an instantly gripping blast of synths, Killa wastes no time in laying out its electronic soundscape. Personally, this kind of aggressive electronic sound is absolutely transcendent and just when you think Killa‘s going to pull back for an opening verse, you’re hit with a pounding sneak peak of the first chorus. It’s the perfect introduction, enticing the listener with a preview of what’s to come without spoiling anything. This segues into the tracks opening verse, which employs a pulsing electronic beat over the boys performance, which feels incredibly charismatic for a group that just debuted. And the same could be said for the rest of the track. It carries a sense of energy that’s usually hard to get from a rookie group and that alone makes Killa a triumph. It’s produced immaculately, shifting between hard hitting rap verses to breathless vocal displays and ‘a killa’ electric guitar solo with style. There’s a real sense of drive here and while some might view it as a little generic at times, this is MY kind of generic.
Killa absolutely soars during its rousing chorus, which harnesses a Superhuman like energy (honestly, this is what SM should be doing) and melody to create one of the years most majestic and hard hitting centrepieces. It’s both at once powerful yet light on its feet, making great use of its pulsing production with an equally potent melody which sounds even more immense when supported by some delicious vocal layering. I’m less enthused by the percussive breakdown that follows the first chorus but luckily it only appears once as a segue into the second verse. The rest of Killa is streamlined to perfection and marks Mirae as one of the next generations most promising prospects. This is easily my favourite debut in years.
Final Rating: 9.5 / 10