Thursday, June 6th, 2024

aespa – Supernova

Not exactly dying stars…

aespa - Supernova
[Video]
[6.83]

Anna Katrina Lockwood: Aespa aren’t rookies anymore, and that comes across. “Supernova” sounds like it could be a SHINee single from 2008–2013, were it on the Matrix soundtrack; it’s exactly what I’ve been hoping for from Aespa since their debut, and it’s the first time I’ve felt like I really get what they’ve been going for. The synths are scribbly and cosmic simultaneously, and the often lackadaisical vibes of previous releases has been replaced by a maniacal aplomb. There are some shouty bits, as is the current trend, but they’re tempered by that uniquely SM tunefulness. and backed up by the controlled and well-tuned performances. Two of our most familiar and beloved SM-associated songwriters are involved — Kenzie and Dem Jointz — along with Paris Alexa, who as far as I can tell has her first K-pop production credit here. I would strongly encourage the powers that be at SM to keep working with her! 
[9]

Jonathan Bradley: It should be exactly the wrong point in the nostalgia cycle for anyone to be resurrecting the EDM maximalism of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” but aespa’s “Supernova” is satisfyingly gigantic. It launches with a bass thud suitable for a blockbuster movie title card and follows it with bristling bass swells that only avoid sounding out of control because it doesn’t seem possible that they might have been controlled in the first place.
[7]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: In the SM catalog, you can trace a song like “Supernova” back to f(x)’s “Red Light.” The problem for me is that despite all the fun elements, there’s no sense of release, no actual ecstasy, no goddamn hook. I’m dragged along for the ride, and it’s just the same self-serious melodies and whirring synths we’ve come to expect. The epicness is tiresome.
[3]

Iain Mew: The bass noises revving up like an incomprehensible machine and the group strutting forward with purpose keep everything through to the first post-chorus escalating perfectly. From there they add a lot of stuff that ought to work as thrilling expansions, not least the gorgeous digital rain of synths, but the switch is a bit too hard, too fast. The song loses something without the single-mindedness.
[6]

Taylor Alatorre: The smile that crept across my face when the bass-heavy rap breakdown got flipped into a “Planet Rock” sample — sometimes life’s simple pleasures really are all you need. Aside from that moment of dimension-hopping, “Supernova” is fully content to play around in the expansive yet finite limits that it sets for itself, guided only by its mission to recreate the scintillating highs of K-pop’s second generation while avoiding the chintzier pratfalls. There’s no attempt at transcendence here, and if any shedding of old identities has occurred, it’s evident only in the external branding. But why let that stop you from enjoying the way Ningning punches her way through “bring the light of a dying star” as she crests the wave of that brain-tickling synth line?
[8]

Ian Mathers: Finally, a song using supernova imagery that actually understands that a supernova is a dying star (to the point of explicitly calling it out in the lyrics). Would love if this were even more crunchy and compressed throughout (you know, really lean into it, like the way the vocal processing sometimes goes a bit wild on “nova”), but this is solid.
[7]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The conceit is frustratingly, exhaustingly executed—intense and bold and shiny but devoid of fun. It’s not a good thing when I have to check whether will.i.am is involved in the production. 
[5]

Alfred Soto: Combining Femme Fatale-era Britney Spears elastic electro-boogie and the best of Destiny’s Child, “Supernova” fucks with time and space with its bass line alone: the girls could tesseract with it. The illustrative lyrics matter just enough. 
[8]

Mark Sinker: Songs about space and robots are always better than songs about love or sex — wait it’s about sex isn’t  
[9]

Katherine St. Asaph: Adds some playfulness and sonic variation to the long-lost, much-mourned-by-me 2010-11 pop formula — “Blow,” “Till the World Ends,” “Bad Romance” — without sacrificing any of the electrogoth maximalism, nor any tension or explosion. I miss when pop music sounded like this.
[9]

Nortey Dowuona: I’m just here so Dem Joints won’t get fined. (Marshawn Lynch voice.) Also Lance Taylor need to stay his freaky ass inside.
[3]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Went from a standard piece of aespan shock-and-awe pop to something altogether sillier and more glorious the second that “Planet Rock”/”Trans-Europe Express” break comes in — as TSJ’s longest-tenured aespa defender I feel so vindicated that they’ve finally figured how to make ten perfectly ridiculous seconds of pop music that they’ve always deserved.
[8]

Reader average: [10] (1 vote)

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