The past couple years have brought a resurgence in the popularity of KPOP in the United States. In 2018 BTS returned for a huge tour in America. It also brought the first big tours for rappers Mad Clown and San E, electronic artist CIFIKA, boy bands Monsta X (played a limited run in 2017), and A.C.E. Last night Amoeba Culture artist Crush returned to Chicago for the first time in two years. Although he’d been sick the day before, he delivered a fantastic performance.
What sets Crush apart from other artists he may be compared to is his ability to jump around from genre to genre and perform them all equally well. His super popular smash hit “Beautiful” is a sweet ballad that focuses on his vocal ability. “Oasis” is a sexy dance number highlighting his party side, including a rap verse heavily influenced by the style of Chance The Rapper. To top it all off he covered Chet Baker’s version of “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” a somber jazz song from the 1940’s.
I was most impressed with how Crush handled himself on stage. He seemed sincerely gracious for the audience supporting his music and stayed in constant communication with the crowd. He had a translator off stage that would repeat his statements in English when he spoke at length in Korean. This is something I really appreciate as a non-Korean speaker. At other shows I’ve been to this year I wish they would have had this-I definitely felt more included here. He’s also got a great sense of humor and joked about how we should listen to his music all the time, not just sometimes.
Most of the KPOP artists I’ve listened to are somewhat influenced by American music, but Crush almost makes western music in Korean. He’s got parts of Usher and Drake to his delivery, and it’s obvious he’s staying up on American trends in hip-hop with his DJ laying down trap beats at the foundation of a lot of the songs.
One of the last songs he played was “Lay Your Head On Me” It is his first song entirely in English. It stands up next to the likes of Bieber or Sean Mendes as far as sweet pop love songs go.By the end Crush had won over everyone with his charm and talent. He vowed that next time he comes to Chicago he will be bringing even better songs and he will be a better performer. He also said he’ll try to get better at English so he won’t need a translator.