know as K-Pop, Seo Taiji & Boys exploded the fringes of South Korean pop music with American-imported hip-hop and New Jack Swing sounds. But before redudancy could claim his career, Seo Taiji, sans Boys, jumped ship for.... nu-metal? And not a boardroom's idea of what nu-metal was, but genuine Coal Chambered drop tuned nu-metal. It should have been a hilarious failure, yet he pulled it off spectacularly on 2000's Ultramania. Songs like "Tank" and "Feel the Soul" do not sound like a desperate pop star casting about for relevancy, but the creations of someone who had been waiting his whole life to make this music. Placed near the end of Ultramania is "To You ('02 Remake)", an update of a Seo Taiji & Boys ballad from 1992. The original is a gloopy Boys II Men-style hand-on-heart ballad, awash in syrupy keyboards and finger snaps. The LL Cool J "I Need Love" flow makes a cameo during the chorus. It's extremely of its time and impossibly slow, lumbering forward with the energy of a suede jacket laid atop a rain puddle. The '02 remake, on the other hand, packs 100 pounds of TNT into its back and jumps on the plunger. The remake cuts the run time of the original by more than half, transforming the slow bore of the original verses into an instantly infectious melody and flipping the choruses from 80s loverman raps into Jonathan Davis-esque screaming. It's heavy as shit but tons of fun. Everyone sounds like they're having a blast giving this 10-year-old slow dance ballad a nice kick in the ass. K-pop and nu-metal feel like two things that should never and would never meet, but with "To You (02 Remake)," Seo Taiji effortlessly draws a straight line and folds them together.
The career arc of Seo Taiji is one of those pop music miracles you can't believe you hadn't heard about before. One of the originators of what we now