With SuperM set to participate in the Lady Gaga curated Covid-19 Relief Concert, aptly titled “One World: Together at Home”, we felt that this was a timely moment to have the group debut on our Song of the Week segment.
Released in October 2019, “Jopping” was SuperM’s debut single, and one of the group’s most critically acclaimed tracks from their self-titled extended play, featuring on several “Best K-pop songs of 2019” lists by publications including Dazed and Billboard. The title itself is a combination of the words “jump” and “popping”, which is just as chaotic as the sounds from the song itself. The word should come from “jump” and “chopping”, as it jumps between sounds and chops up the most popular elements from different genres. Is it packed with anthem-like melodies? Yes. Is there simultaneously a jarring EDM beat? Absolutely. Do we sense a pop-rock style in the vocals? Of course we do.
It’s a strange combination, which at times, really does not work. However, the cinematographic, elaborate music videos with fast cars, helicopters and glossy close-up shots of all of the different members are enough to make the listener forget what they are listening to. The extensive mixture of current popular sounds is clunky; it does not sound like the writers were inspired by these, but more as if they were attempting to emulate them. The lead single peaked higher in countries outside of South Korea, such as the UK, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand, pushing this narrative that the group’s focus is on international success.
However, it is not all bad news; the disjointed nature also works in the song’s favour. With retrospect, it is clear that this is something that K-pop has been pursuing much more recently, normalising it. Other examples of songs in this vein are Red Velvet’s “Zimzalabim” and BTS’s “Black Swan”. If this trend continues, it is only time before SuperM will be considered pioneers of the sound, and the track will become more of a firm favourite.