This should be the most worthy ‘throwback’ song featured for a good while.

I wish I didn’t have to do 3 girl groups, then 3 boy groups, then repeat. It seems Korean media likes to have this pattern. And I almost had no choice for a proper boy group. Folks got suspicious about Choa not attending AOA schedulesKA.R.D got caught up in a botched racism scandal, and lots of Produce 101 stuff as usual.

K.A.R.D’s oldest track is only 4 months old at the time of writing. I’d prefer a song to reach 6 months in order to be considered throwback, since the most recent song (as of now) to get a Throwback review was released 7 months earlier when the article was posted. And there probably won’t even be one week for months to come when PD101 isn’t in the news. If I do another PD101 related review, it’ll be cuz there wasn’t anything else good enough. And AOA is a girl group.

I was so ready to pick something relating to PD101 when Crayon Pop saved the week for a second time with the help of ex-H.O.T leader Moon Hee Jun and a happy a little accident. Crayon Pop already had their turn, so it’s time to shine a light on one of the pioneers of k-pop, H.O.T!

A couple months ago, I realized Shinhwa is a group I have to stan after a year of denial. A few weeks later, I figured I should give some other first generation groups a listen so I don’t have to be obnoxious and think Shinhwa is the only first gen group with awesome songs. One of the groups chosen to alter my opinion was sunbae group and apparently the ‘more popular’ group H.O.T.


I checked out Candy which is just as kid-friendly as I expected, and I know I watched I Yah, but I forgot how it sounded and I don’t feel like revisiting it now. And one or two videos as well but what matters is I watched and listened to Outside Castle, one of the last songs of their career as H.O.T. Oh boy.


The song starts with an orchestral arrangement, which was oddly refreshing for someone who sat through Candy. I was close to giving them the benefit of the doubt. Then 1:37 starts and I regretted giving them any hope in me liking them.

I think everyone agrees that the voice mixing is so ridiculous it’s laughable. You have Moon Hee Jun yelping like a goat, then the rappers whispering, Kangta singing like the first generation idol that he is, back to MHJ but less irksome, and then the rappers are yelling! The song goes on after that with more yelping, but what matters is the sound mixing team should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they were amateurs and new to the studio, that way there’s some valid reasoning for the end result.


For the video, I need to point out something that H.O.T was not the only one to have done; why those close-ups? Why do they have to be so close? Is it to make ’90’s fangirls feel closer to their oppas? Is it because the quality of the videos were shitty and idols had to be that close so they don’t look like a blur? As far as I know, the last time an MV had idols that close to the camera was the close up version of Kara’s Step. A close up version, meaning there’s a non-close up version that was the official video and watching this was purely optional. That was also 2011. These days the only close up versions are found in dance practice videos, and they still can’t compare to pre-Golden Age close ups.


Something I somehow enjoyed from the video was this guy right here. He looks like a computer nerd who all of a sudden has to be a pop star. Effortless research tells me this is Jang Woo Hyuk, someone who cares less about H.O.T than you do. If only he was better looking, he’d make a great bias. I guess Kangta will have to do.


While I was watching the video for the first time, I was fiddling with the arm rest on my chair and I accidentally cut my finger and started bleeding. I paused the video to get a band aid in my bathroom, but my dad was going in (my parent’s bathroom was getting a new toilet, so everyone had to use mine) and he said he’d be quick. I had to sit and wait just because my dad couldn’t hold it in my 10 more freaking seconds. That’s all the time I needed! All of that wouldn’t have happened if I never watched Outside Castle. As if there weren’t enough reasons to not like it. The rating I give isn’t that hot.


One thought on “Throwback Thoughts: Outside Castle- H.O.T

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