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3. Infinite- The Chaser (2012)
The star of this opening is the synthesizer. After a brief burst of percussions, the synth comes with a distinct siren sound. It's unlike almost anything out there.
Interesting fact, the synth draws influence from haegeum, a Korean string instrument. Talk about turning something traditional into something more modern.
As the intro comes to a closing, a guitar comes in to deliver a breathtaking sound before transitioning to the first verse.
This is a steady verse. Sungkyu and L don't let anything stand out much, filling this section with beautiful singing.
Splashes of a funky guitar occur during pauses between words.
The song gradually builds here. Sungjong's singing tilts upward with the help of a synth accent. Then, Hoya delivers his best performance, taking us into the stratosphere word by word.
This is one of the most intense choruses out there.
The vocal blend is overpowering. Truthfully, the rhythmic structure isn't catchy - it's driving with great conviction. Let's break it down more.
When the chorus starts, the guys sing each syllable of "geunyeoreul" (geun-yeo-reul) with equal force.
There are two motifs here. Like "geunyeoreul," other words get delivered the same way - "nal itji," "nae nimi," and "kkeutkkaji."
The other motif is the stretching of these words: "jikyeora," "motage," "gyeshin got," and "garyeonda."
As jaw-dropping as the vocal blend is, the brass is also important. It offers a high-quality stuttering accent.
The vocal blend and brass over the foot-stomping beat created a chorus for the ages!
4th gen K-Pop needs to study this ASAP!
Often, K-Pop loves to install a trap breakdown or anything that halts the song's momentum. The Chaser doesn't let that happen.
This is the best second verse in K-Pop. Dongwoo delivers the best idol rap performance. The synth siren returns, giving this verse more character. As he goes on, stabs of a rock guitar appear to add more potency before an electric guitar places the cherry on top.
I would consider this the pre-chorus. Sungyeol and Woohyun display the same rhythm and almost exact lines. What's interesting, though, is the production choice.
For Sungyeol, the synth and propelling beat disappear. Replacing them are the opening percussions and sweeping synths, creating a mystical atmosphere.
The synth from the first pre-chorus returns for Woohyun's part. Presenting (mostly) new lyrics, he helped distribute the same build-up we heard before.
This grabbed my attention right away.
Sungkyu sings the same lyrics from the first chorus. Except, the tone is different.
This is one of the most innovative production choices in K-Pop. Instead of attacking, this chorus caresses the listeners. However, what comes right after makes this a brief interlude.
Now the second chorus appears. Of course, the lyrics are new, but the vocal blend, delivery, and brass are present.
Finally, I like to point out how epic the transition was from the interlude to this chorus.
Contrasting Dongwoo's performance, Hoya's rap is more on the "lighthearted" side. His delivery and the frantic synth created a slightly-loose breakdown with a hint of determination.
The bridge is the least intense among each section. Still, Sungkyu's vocal tone and the funky guitar are great to hear! The combo is free-flowing with unexpected flair. It's the same tonal delivery from the first verse.
Although, the bridge shares a dramatic moment like the rest. As Sungkyu sings his last line, a bubbly synth accent arrives to implement a build-up for one of K-Pop's best vocal moments.
Woohyun's Key change is hair-raising!
His vocal performance is other-worldly. While synths mystically surround the atmosphere, Woohyun sings every part of the chorus as if life depended on him. That's how chilling it is.
The guys come in full force again alongside the impeccable brass accent. It's here that the song pushes towards its conclusion with might.
At 3:55, the rhythmic melody from the first verse and bridge reappears. The instrumental has this distraught sound like it's rushing to end this track. On the contrary, Infinite presents itself as a poised and relaxed group. The brass seems to grow louder as the singing progresses.
What does it take to finish a song like The Chaser? Guitar stabs and a singular percussion thud, that's what!