Why The Chaser is No. 1 K-pop song

DYNAMIC: Korean boyband Infinite, whose song The Chaser was named Billboard’s Number One K-pop song last year, promises an electrifying performance at their concert in Singapore on Oct 5.

In Infinite's own words, it was their distinctly Korean flavour that nailed it for them.

Last December, the K-pop septet's hit, The Chaser, topped a list of 20 Best K-pop Songs of 2012 drawn up by US music authority Billboard.

The addictive electropop track featured a punchy hook, catchy chorus and a seamless blend of rap and melodies, but it was still a feat for the rising boy band, to beat the likes of established stars Psy, 2NE1 and Big Bang.

In an e-mail interview with LOUD ahead of their concert here on Oct 5, 24-year-old leader Sungkyu was humble about the group's chart achievements Stateside.

"Wow, it's already been a year. Many talented artists were nominated and we appreciate that we were ranked No. 1 on (the) Billboard K-pop (list)," he said.

"We don't think it was because we were better than the other artists, but to encourage us to do even better.

"And that was exactly what we did - we tried to do our best for our new album."

Their latest EP, New Challenge, was released in March to massive success in South Korea, sweeping the top spot on all the mainstream music charts like Mnet, Daum, Melon and Gaon.

Sungkyu added that the "special" part about The Chaser is that "unlike other K-pop tunes, people can feel something Korean throughout our whole song".

"That said, although the melody and lyrics are 'Korean', it sounds really neat with powerful vocals and charismatic dance choreography."

Infinite - also comprising Dongwoo, Woohyun, Hoya, all 22, Sungyeol and L, both 21, and Sungjong, 19 - are on their first world tour, which will take them to the US, South America and Europe at the end of the year.

Next month, at the Singapore leg of their tour, local fans can expect surprises from the boys, who have refused to be pigeonholed. "When it comes to music, we keep trying new things," said Dongwoo.

"Being unpredictable is what makes us attractive.

"We made The Chaser and Man in Love (the lead single taken off New Challenge) to show our fans that we can handle various genres of music."

While The Chaser screams cool with its explosive beats and synthesisers, Man in Love is summery, bouncy and upbeat.

Have the seven of them in the team ever allowed rivalry and oversized egos to hurt their brotherly feelings? Said Hoya: "At work, we encourage and help each other. We're only competitive when we're free and playing games. When we record a song, Sungkyu (always) starts first to guide us along.

"Whenever there is conflict within the band, Sungkyu is our mediator. He is our leader and he is mature.

We tend to follow what he says."

Infinite, who were last here in 2010 for K-pop music extravaganza Korean Pop Night alongside Girls' Generation, F.T. Island and SHINee, have fond memories of our sunny island.

Ardent fans might want to stick around outdoor food court Makansutra Gluttons Bay after the show for a glimpse of their idols.

Said Sungyeol: "Singapore is such a beautiful country that it inspires people to visit.

"I loved kaya toast and miss it so much. We heard Makansutra Gluttons Bay is THE spot for good food. This time round, we hope to pop by there after our concert."

FYI

WHAT: 2013 Infinite 1st World Tour One Great Step Singapore

WHEN: Oct 5, 7pm

WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium

TICKETS: $138 to $268 from Sistic (www.sistic. com.sg or 6348-5555)


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