Nothing quite hits the spot like a good beat drop — except, that is, a good anti-drop. An anti-drop is basically what it sounds like: when a song builds energy and excitement, but then instead of offering a lit beat drop followed by a climactic chorus, it gives way to a more minimal, sometimes quite empty-sounding chorus instead. The anti-drop is more than just an instrumental chorus or a mere pause in the song. When it’s done right, it can deliver a dose of simmering tension and heightened drama that no beat drop can compete with! The following 12 K-pop songs have some of the best anti-drops in K-pop, so keep reading to check them out!
1. “Dejavu” — NU’EST W
“Dejavu” was an under-appreciated gem from NU’EST W, with one of the most stunning anti-drops in K-pop! The song expertly builds anticipation before defying expectations and cutting to a bare chorus of resonant guitar sounds and the members’ breathy vocals. This anti-climactic chorus contributes to the song’s hauntingly nostalgic vibe.
2. “I Got Love” — Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon
The anti-drop in Tayeon’s sensuous “I Got Love” dials the heat way up, switching from the singer’s vocals to a simmering instrumental-only chorus. The muffled quality and saxophone slides make this track totally sultry! The song adds a little extra flair to its last chorus, layering Taeyeon’s vocals over top.
3. “Now or Never” — SF9
“Now or Never” almost pulls a concept-switch on us: it starts out bright and relatively unassuming, but then hits an anti-drop and takes a turn for the sexy. This is largely thanks to the contrast provided by Hwiyoung’s deep voice, which touch off the lower, darker chorus that makes this song so addicting!
4. “Oh my god” — (G)I-DLE
“Oh my god” goes through several musical shifts, from its dark intro to its playful, Latin-flavored verses. It builds incredible intensity that then takes a dramatic pause right before the chorus, which is stripped down to simple beats and vocals — highlighting the song’s infamously mysterious lyrics. This anti-drop lends “Oh my god” its wondrously thought-provoking quality!
“Chocolate” is musically interesting enough to listen to over and over, and it has one of the most unique choruses around! Saxophone notes and Changmin’s gravely spoken lines lend this song a sexy quality, but it urgently builds to an anti-drop that allows the chorus to pull back into a sultry instrumental peppered with Changmin playing on the word “chocolate.”
6. “Whistle” — BLACKPINK
With its casual whistled tune, snapping beat, and soft vocals, this OG BLACKPINK release is chill to begin with. But where its strumming, full pre-chorus could build up to something explosive, it instead dials things back to low heat, with a relatively empty chorus that is hypnotically catchy. The song finally lets loose at the very end, incorporating bass and chants into its finale.
7. “Home” — SEVENTEEN
One of the few songs here that doesn’t use an anti-drop for a sexy effect, “Home” is pure warm, fuzzy comfort. The song’s pre-chorus feels like it’s gearing up for a big drop, but SEVENTEEN opens up a gorgeous space of emptiness instead. Not to dwell on this minimalism, the song blossoms into a luxuriously cozy chorus. It’s just what we would expect of SEVENTEEN’s expert songwriting!
8. “Stay Tonight” — Chungha
In her sultry 2020 hit, Chungha preempts the chorus with a buildup ending in a powerful high note — faking us out before an anti-drop with seductively breathy vocals and funky synths. Even the bridge in “Stay Tonight” features something of an anti-drop, before an instrumental that’s perfect for a commanding dance break by this K-pop queen.
9. “Jungle” — CIX
“Jungle” was one of the most interesting releases of 2020, with a tangible underlying darkness that befits its horror-infused music video. The song harnesses the power of the anti-drop to create its most thrilling moment: a few beats of heavy breathing sounds punctuated by the eerie command “run,” before a driving instrumental chorus!
10. “AYA” — MAMAMOO
“AYA” is MAMAMOO at their sexiest, and the ladies tried something new both visually (hello, Solar’s unibrow?!) and musically with this exotic concept. This includes forgoing their famously powerful vocals by punctuating the song’s buildup with an anti-drop into an instrumental chorus, relying heavily on flute sounds and bewitching chanting. Of course, the song’s finale totally inverts this expectation, so make sure you listen all the way through!
11. “FACE” — The Rose’s Woosung
While “FACE” starts out playfully flirty yet harmless enough, its anti-drop quickly turns it downright sexy! The song is wonderfully minimalist, but where its amped-up pre-chorus seems to promise a more traditional chorus to follow, the track instead opts to focus on Woosung’s edgy vocals — which are quite a treat!
12. “MMM” — TREASURE
“MMM” shines a light on TREASURE’s rap talent, and its lilting beats suggest that this lit track might have a powerful chorus. Instead, the group anti-drops into an almost slow-motion, breath-filled section that allows the members to show off the track’s memorable choreography. It also enables the song to build to an even more exciting climax at the very end!
BONUS: “Fav Boyz (Steve Aoki’s Gold Star Remix)” — A.C.E feat. Thutmose
This Steve Aoki remix of A.C.E’s recent release “Favorite Boys” is something you might hear in a club, and it reimagines the original track with a dramatic anti-drop. Whether you like the original or the remix better, it’s a unique spin on A.C.E’s single!
Hey Soompiers, are you a fan of the anti-drop? Which of these songs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases.
How does this article make you feel?