SECRET may not be doing anything new with “I’m In Love” but when everything is working in sync like it is here, that ends up not mattering much at all.
SECRET has made a career out of repurposing retro 50-60’s tunes and putting a modern K-Pop twist on them and “I’m In Love” wisely continues that tradition. The jazzy big band sound is a lot of fun as horns bounce around with authority to the beat of a rollicking snare drum. The quick pace injects some liveliness that is often lost in “sexy” productions (SECRET’s own “Talk That” fell victim to this) and it gives “I’m In Love” an addictive quality that is only interrupted by a disjointed bridge that still recovers nicely. Best of all, the Duble Sidekick produced track understands what sound it’s trying to emulate and it doesn’t fall to the temptation of adding anything that isn’t needed. No dubstep breakdown, no house interlude, no EDM transitions. There’s an economy to the track that is straightforward but admirable when done right like it is here.
SECRET does well with the beat. The group’s singles are rarely, if ever, about the vocal talents of the members but they are more than good enough to get by and fill a soulful beat like “I’m In Love” through some excellent vocal double tracking of choruses and fairly good individual work on the verses (Jieun, per usual, is a highlight). Musically, “I’m In Love” could have succeeded with a wide variety of groups behind it but SECRET’s track record with this type of music pretty much made the success of “I’m In Love” a foregone conclusion.
And then there’s the video, which may be the most unfairly hot music video since SECRET’s “Poison.” While plenty of other groups could have made “I’m In Love” work musically, there are few, if any, who could have eviscerated film like SECRET does for “I’m In Love.” Like the song, the music video has elements which a lot of directors, editors and choreographers could have conceived. There’s the standard dance shots, individual shots and “story” shots that mostly amount to empty filler. There’s the over-use of the black and white motif. There’s even that annoying hazy white lighting filter that screams Cinemax or Hallmark movie. And yet, despite all of these fairly basic elements, the video shines because SECRET looks absolutely amazing and they own the shit out of their choreography. If gyrations and leg movements could kill, SECRET would be locked up. The group attacks “I’m In Love” with a confidence that doesn’t look rehearsed or feel contrived. Impressively, the foursome manage to accomplish one of the hardest tasks in a K-Pop video. They manage to make a dance-in-a-box concept feel like the best fit for what they’re trying to accomplish rather than a creative crutch.
When one wants to do a “simple” music video set to a fairly retro-esque beat, the various elements have to shine because all the elements are already somewhat familiar to the audience. “I’m In Love” is unabashedly uncomplicated but every facet of it works wonderfully, from the beat to the way that the vocals fill the music to the heavenly gift that is the music video. The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but that doesn’t adequately capture what SECRET does with their latest single. Importantly, “I’m In Love” doesn’t merely find SECRET simply going through the motions, it finds them solidifying their territory in K-Pop as one of the genre’s most consistently entertaining acts.