Reviewish: SPICA – “Secret Time” Is A Pretty Mild Time

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Over my years extolling the virtues of SPICA, even I could see that the group’s discography featured similar magical positives and slight, but undeniable, flaws.The group’s visuals and vocals were always breathtaking but the group’s dedication to an older R&B sound and a lack of emphasis on hooks and pop riffs often left the group’s singles feeling like a sunny mid-week day in August – super pleasant but often forgotten by the time the evening rolls around.For better and worse, SPICA’s latest comeback “Secret Time” doesn’t do much to alter the group’s formula for success (?). “Secret Time” is by no means groundbreaking or the best single that SPICA has produced but it’s a fine representation of what SPICA does well, even if it does little to correct the things that have eluded SPICA singles in the past.

“Secret Time” has some immense facets working in its favor but the video and the song’s choruses and hooks are not among them. Unfortunately, these elements may be the most important things to nail when it comes to K-Pop videos. The video’s faux eighties roller rink concept is executed without many twists and the interchanging slow motion shots, party montages, individual scenes, and choreography moments are strung together in a way that is completely expected and thus, a bit boring. The choruses, which feature SPICA going for a more pop-centric approach instead of the powerhouse R&B style where the group truly shines, also err on the side of the single’s more forgettable moments. Compared to the better pieces of the song, the choruses are overly long and they become repetitive (in a bad way) by the conclusion. Luckily, the fantastic moments of “Secret Time” make up for the bland, if completely inoffensive, facets of SPICA’s single.

While every member of SPICA can sing and command a camera like nobody’s business,  “Secret Time” truly comes alive whenever Boa and/or Bohyung are singing/doing anything. Their contributions to the song’s verses, with all of their soulfully strong approaches, are the best parts of “Secret Time” and it’s not a particularly close contest. Narae (goodness), Sihyun and Jiwon all look radiant and it’s not as if they don’t carry their weight in the video or the song. However, in a comeback that doesn’t feature many innate bells and whistles, it wouldn’t be that far of a stretch to say that Boa and Bohyung are the difference between “Secret Time” being an average K-Pop comeback and an average SPICA comeback. Their individual work and the moments where they bounce off each other are the instances where “Secret Time” captures a magic that is hard to match. The difference is as monumental as my undying devotion to Boa.

I highly doubt that “Secret Time” is the single that will catapult SPICA into the K-Pop stratosphere, especially given the fact that the group has released better singles before in a time that they were also much more prolific. Like SPICA’s other videos (outside of, perhaps, “Tonight”), “Secret Time” doesn’t look to impress with its visual creativity. The single seems to hedge between wanting to show off SPICA’s vocalists and wanting to be a more streamlined pop song. Nevertheless, “Secret Time” succeeds on SPICA’s terms. The verses shine with each member bringing their own identifiable vocal approach to the song and Boa and Bohyung prove that SPICA may have an overabundance of riches when it comes to singers. “Secret Time” won’t change anyone’s mind when it comes to SPICA but at this point, I’ll take any SPICA comeback that I can get, even one that is basically average when it comes to the group’s music videos.

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6 comments

  1. Yes, I was sad this isn’t the song that is going to get this group noticed and over the popularity hump. Still at least they are back after a very long layoff. Hopefully, their next song slays.

    One wonders what might have been if this group had landed with a major agency or a better run small agency like a Starship. That said, maybe part of the reason they are where they are is that while very talented vocally, they just aren’t strong at variety, or have that singular personality or visual who just draws advertisers or attention. It’s hard to get far in K-pop without at least one person in your group that has star charisma that is a flame to the moths (fans).

    I hold out hope for this group as you do occasionally see a group like Girls’ Day that toil in relative obscurity for years and finally drop the right song at the right time and manage to then drop that all important follow-up that does even better and suddenly they are relevant and successful.

  2. Ah heck, they need better songs. I honestly rather watch/listen to this than whatever “Secret Time” is trying to be.

  3. Thank you! As a recent fan of K-pop overall, I had over the few years heard of Spica, but never really tried them out because of the craziness that is Girl Generation, but since last year because of this blog and Asian Junkie, I ventured out of the mass jungle that is SONE. Fast forward to now and I cannot get over “You don’t love me,” and “Tonight.” “Secret Time” is not my favorite song, but more exposure for these girls is never bad!

    So thank you for this blog. Fei-fighting!

  4. Wish this was a better song, sadly.

    1. Same. I really, really wish this was better than average.

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