Review: SECRET – “I’m In Love” Is A Great Example Of Basic K-Pop Being Executed Flawlessly

secret im in love cover

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.

Also an inevitable success.

Also an inevitable success.

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.

Optimizing results.

Optimizing results.

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.

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7 comments

  1. Kpoptartsarebestpoptarts · · Reply

    Man, I like the song, the concept, and the outfits. But that video was ridiculous. It gave me a headache with all of the quick cuts. I can’t wait for the live performances because you couldn’t focus on anything for more than a millisecond in the vid. Nice job with the gifs though. Hyosung once again proves she has the best body in Kpop. And Hanna isn’t that far behind. No pun intended.

    1. The cuts were a bit distracting for me but I didn’t feel like any of them cut to anything bad. It was like, “here’s something godly, here’s something nice, here’s something glorious, now repeat every couple of seconds forever.” Normally, that many quick cuts would have been bad but I didn’t feel like any were excessive or wasteful because SECRET looked impossibly good in all of them.

  2. Great review and very well said. There should be a link to this YouTube video for the Wikipedia entry for “K-Pop:.

    1. Thanks! And yes it should.

  3. black soshi · · Reply

    Good god Hyosung!

    1. A perfectly acceptable reply to anything she does.

  4. Hana’s twerk is as perfect as Hyosung’s body which is as perfect as Jieun’s voice and Sunhwa’s face.

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