Your editor… kind of wants to play chess now.
Jessica Doyle: So BM’s position at 1:37 looks pretty bad: he did manage to castle queenside, but then moved too aggressively and lost his rook and knight. But J.Seph didn’t castle at all, allowing BM to come up through the center, apparently. (And block off the adjacent files with his bishops? Otherwise how do you checkmate an isolated king with a rook?) And now’s as good a time as any to mention I was finding Fabiano Carauna hot until he punted a simple Trump or Clinton question, like no dude you don’t get to pretend you play in a political vacuum when you just mentioned Alekhine (who was playing with anti-Semitism long before Bobby Fischer tried it) and Kasparov (who hopefully has since schooled Caruana some, as he does). Anyway. K.A.R.D deserves better than a tangent, though I’ll admit I find them more compelling when they’re being playful. The backing track here is just a little too languid for Jiwoo’s and J.Seph’s exposing their wounds. Which would seem to contradict what I said earlier, and I can’t tell you the members of K.A.R.D are going to be any better than Caruana at dealing with the world their audience is escaping from, during breaks from providing the escapism. But I’m not consistent either; I’m rooting for them anyway.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Production-wise it’s the worst of the worst: tamed down elements of recent Fifth Harmony singles mixed in with Tropical House and DJ Snake, to a bland Soundcloud mishmash that’s less catchy as it is a ‘pushing the edge of expiration date’ functional blandness. The song itself is moody, but feels far too stiff to be real despondency. That said, bonus points for J.seph’s rap verse, which is just the amount of mild venom that seems to embody the relationship described in his delivery, while his lyrics attempt to convey self-pitying hurt. It’s good to see someone didn’t forget the song they were actually trying to make while everyone else let this record down.
Ryo Miyauchi: I’m stoked to hear yet another slick club pop from Korea that faintly borrows from the softer side of DJ Snake. And where the synths ping across the surface light as a feather, K.A.R.D. move even lighter. As the four split slides to start some back and forth, the men seem to push back harder than the women even if the latter’s supposed to have the upper hand. But “Don’t Recall” overall sets a nice dynamic that I hope gets explored more as they go.
Alfred Soto: The call and response vocals go some distance toward compesantion for the chipmunk vocal effect, which I’d rather hear in K-pop than a Chainsmokers track. Still!
Will Adams: With all the ill-advised EDM duets popping up in the wake of “Closer,” it’s refreshing to find one where the singers interact this well. That’s about all that’s refreshing here; the rest is as familiar as you’d expect.
Iain Mew: There’s something stylish and fun in there waiting to be let out, I think, which would make something more of the lemon drop synths. As it is, it’s obscured by too many voices pulling as hard as they can in different directions, and it feels too much like a competition where I don’t mind who loses.