Despite a large promotional push and backing from K-pop Queen Lee Hyori, SPICA still hasn’t been able to hit the big time at home in Korea just yet. With the group’s career at a standstill, they’ve now randomly decided to tackle the American market with their first English-language single, “I Did It.”
Because, why not?
I didn’t have high hopes for this since SPICA’s music tends to be quite hit and miss (despite their obvious talent), but “I Did It” is actually the group’s best effort outside of their flawless Sweetune-produced singles, “Russian Roulette” and “So Lonely.”
The thing that surprised me the most was that it actually sounds like a K-pop song, and not just an outdated rehash of American top forty fodder — which, as history has taught us, is pretty rare for Asian artists crossing over into the West. Sure, the jazzy hip-pop production is in line with current stateside hits like Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and “Bang Bang,” but it still sounds exactly like any chart-topping K-pop smash — there’s even a rap break instead of a bridge, which is probably the most noticeable musical trait of K-pop production.
There’s also a lightness to the lyrics that’s rarely found in American pop music these days. “I Did It” is a girl power anthem about taking control and hitting the town, but there’s no cussing or trashy sexual innuendo to be found — just good old fashioned fun.
You’d think that a Korean hitmaker was behind “I Did It,” but the brassy throwback was actually helmed by a trio of U.S. producers. There’s Oliver ‘Oligee’ Goldstein, who’s worked with Britney, Kelly Clarkson, and Shakira (and also happens to be the boyfriend of songwriter and wannabe popstar Bonnie McKee); Cory Enemy, who’s probably best known for his dance remixes but also worked on Carly Rae Jepsen’s underrated Kiss LP; and Daniel Merlot, who has worked with a number of J-pop and C-pop stars.
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that “I Did It” is a better song than “Problem” (even though I personally prefer it, but objectively I can recognize how well-produced “Problem” is) but it’s infinitely superior to both “Bang Bang” and that horrible Duffy knock-off about fat chicks that’s at the top of the charts now. I even like it more than a lot of the K-pop singles that have come out lately.
The official music video looks like the ’60s-inspired “Problem,” just with a way lower budget and all ’90s fashion. You would think that a mish-mash of two trendy but completely different decades would be awkward, but it actually works. It’s so cheap that member Boa couldn’t even afford the right coloured foundation for her face, but the low cost look is kind of charming — if anything, it just adds to the overall retro concept.
Of course, none of this means that “I Did It” is going to be a hit. I’d actually bet my life that it won’t be. Getting a hit song in America takes a small army of radio pluggers, PR people, and payola, and even then success isn’t guaranteed. But it works as a fun thing on the side, and gives SPICA something to promote at KCON this weekend.
With any luck, SPICA’s got a Korean version of this ready to go for their next K-pop comeback. If they’re ever gonna get a hit, then it should be with a song like this.