SM Station time again! For this release, we have veteran producer Hitchhiker teaming up with Taeyong from NCT. Given the two very different styles of music they are involved in, I was curious to see what sort of collaboration they would release.

Hitchhiker has been involved in the Korean music industry since the late 1990s. He has had a hand in producing some of the biggest group’s hits, such as Brown Eyed Girls, Girls Generation and Super Junior. He has been producing his own music and has garnered a following on YouTube for his weirdly aesthetic music videos.

Taeyong debuted in 2016 as a part of SM Entertainment’s NCT project. Taeyong has appeared in two subunits of the wider group, NCT U and NCT 127. Both subunits received a lot of praise for their debut songs “The 7th Sense” and “Firetruck” respectively. Taeyong has stepped into the leader position for both groups, and this has been quite a responsibility for him.

Around

Song

This song could not typify the EDM genre more. It’s practically dripping with the various different hallmarks of this particular style of music. It’s got a incredibly repetitive beat, almost to the point of insanity. There is no discernible “drops’ or change in this. It’s all the same sounds, repeated over and over again. Given the title of the song, it does make sense that this repetition would occur, as it feeds rather nicely into the message of the song.

The lyrics, the small few that exist, are a warning. They are a simple admonishment that “what goes around, comes around”, and Taeyong doesn’t seem to mind repeating it more than once. His voice is very at odds with his usual “sweet” voice. It’s got a peculiar rough quality that seems to suit this style of song nicely. There are some off the wall lyrics in this too, that seem added merely to add a dash of “weirdness” to the song. At one point Taeyong earnestly asks “What about no ketchup?”. Short of this being a slang phrase in Korean that I don’t know, this line makes absolutely no sense.


The song is very reminiscent of Hitchhikers work. It has his stamp all over it. There are some aberrant details in the background of the song that whilst they may have worked in the past, don’t quite work in this context. There is a very high pitched tone throughout the song that becomes increasingly distracting as time goes on. This makes repeated listens of this song difficult for me, as I can’t not focus on that noise.

Video

What  to say about this video? If you’ve seen any of Hitchhikers other videos, you know exactly what to expect. Weird angles, saturated colours, repeated patterns, people who aren’t people, all very present in his other videos.

The star of this video is the person in the silver Hazmat suit. We see them repeatedly throughout the video interacting with objects and even playing instruments at one point. The only person’s face we see the entire video is Taeyong’s. Even he is not “in” the video perse, his image is superimposed over the scenes, which gives an uneasy feeling to me. He is a part of, but not included in, this video, and even then his image is washed out in various different saturated colours.

The camera plays a lot with perspective in this video, and it’s one of the few things I really liked. There are some really neat shots wherein the camera zooms into what you think is a townscape shown from overhead, but in actuality it’s a snapshot. We see the silver clad person dancing and interacting with these skewed perspective shots, and overall it’s a cool concept I haven’t seen done before.

Summary

Definitely my least favourite of the SM Station tracks to date. It’s not my kind of jam at all. It’s too odd for my tastes. So much of that oddity is manufactured also, in that you can tell that there is parts of the video added to “look weird” and “sound odd”, that actually doesn’t have a bearing on the song at all. Sad to say it will not be added to my playlist.

If you want to hear more Hitchhiker, I would suggest “Eleven” and “Ding Dong

For Taeyong, I would suggest “7th Sense” and “Limitless