When considering some of my favourite K-pop moments of the past few years, JY Park and Sunmi’s incredibly campy yet irresistibly fun When We Disco is perched right near the top. It showed just how potent an upbeat throwback duet could really sound under the right circumstances, breaking so many modern k-pop constructs in the process that it’s basically become a staple for the history books. And with the release of Now, another deep cut off PSY’s excellent new album, we see just how incredible songs like that can be when tied to equally charismatic performers.
Acting as a heavily remixed version of Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson’s 1984 hit When the Rain Begins to Fall, Now is probably the most faithful adoption of the recent retro boom, only rivalled by The Rampage’s JUMP from earlier in the ear. And by upping the BPM and shifting the arrangement into more dramatic territory, Psy has managed to transform an already great song into a complete flashdance style jam that harkens back to the sounds of its era whilst still carrying enough modern touches to help to standout in a pool of similar efforts. The trumpeting synth riff is the most evident of all the improvements, carrying much more weight in this version than the original, giving the entire package an additional sense of intensity and drama. An approach that works very very well here when taken alongside both PSY and Hwasa’s assured vocal performance. Which is easily the highlight of the song. They are both excellent here, attacking their lines with a sense of intent that works in perfect symbiosis with the cocaine laced beat, emphasising their delivery in ways that feel ripped right out of the 80’s. A small addition that does wonders for the final product.
The chorus is similarly great, harnessing a classic sounding melody that captures the synth drenched fantasia of 80’s dance tracks whilst concurrently harbouring a sense of melancholia under its propulsive production. It’s heavily reminiscent of the aforementioned When We Disco but I think I actually like the chorus here a little more. Psy and Hwasa play off each other so well here, singing in unison to create what feels like a genuine duet. It’s not subtle in the slightest and honestly kind of wacky. But as someone who revels in these kinds of weird, over the top pieces of music, I live for songs like Now. This is the kind of shit that I lose my mind over and boy does it feel good to finally get something that manages to hit so many of my musical sweet spots so damn easily.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10