K Pop pioneers S.E.S. are cashing in their reunion points for their 20th year in the game. The group is a big deal being not only one of the most prominent groups (female or otherwise) but also a boon in SM’s path to dominance. A lot is owed to the group. Girl groups today still use many of the same themes as they did when they started out. Even their sound is prevalent in quite a few group’s (although many companies veer away from the prominent R&B influence of the 90’s and early 2000’s).
A lot of older (first generation) groups have been making comebacks as of late. The industry is just a little bit bigger for them to continue their space. However most acts have predominantly been male, so S.E.S. are the first of their kind right now.
The group began their comeback with the release of a remastered version of their hit song Love (used for SM Station). The song still has such a throwback feel to it. They sped up the song a little, and added some elements which makes it feel less like 2000, and more like 2008. Which isn’t bad. They didn’t completely redo the song and make it modern by today’s standards, which unfortunately could have meant edm remix with an unnecessary drop, or trap music…no thank you. The song feels aged and appropriate for a group that debuted two decades ago.
One of the new songs the group released. Remember is a sentimental ballad that lays on the cheesy real thick. Perfect release to get fans in their feelings. Me personally, it’s not my favorite song. It’s fine for what it is, and thankfully the song isn’t slow or consumed by a key and string section. The song also feels modestly modern instead of placing them smack dab in 1998. Overall I don’t mind Remember for what it is, but I don’t find it exceptional.
I actually really am into Paradise. At first I thought the song was just okay. I was waiting for something to happen. It lacks the usual K Pop dramatics, and isn’t toned down in some spots. Still it wasn’t bad enough for me to stop listening to it. What I do want to note is how this song sounds very in line with what the group has produced in the past. Very easy pop, with R&B (specifically new jack swing in this songs case) leanings. It’s easy catchy pop. The only thing different is that Eugene and Sooyoung are rapping.
The Remember era is a lesson in refinement. The group doesn’t chase trends to make themselves something new. Instead they stick to sounds they are familiar with, only letting the production value get better. Even with Love [Story], a song that was re-recorded, nothing feels brand new, just tweaked. This makes the comeback for what it is, a possible one time thing (or simply the beginning of an occasional effort). Them not trying to be something new or play up a new fad feels right now allowing them to grab at new fans. This is a group with an established base, who have younger girl groups cover them to screaming fans because they know S.E.S. Why would you want to change that?