The roots of Busan, South Korea four-piece Say Sue Me extend to their childhood, when bassist Jae Young and guitarist Kim Byungkyu became friends in the fifth grade. By 2012, drummer Kang Semin and singer Sumi Choi had joined the fold, with Sumi finding her footing as a natural songwriter shortly thereafter. The current iteration of the group includes drummer Changwon, temporarily replacing Semin who is recovering from a major falling injury.
The music of Say Sue Me is also rooted in the past, owing a lot to the less-twee spectrum of the C86 sound. On their second album, the revelatory Where We Were Together, the group can’t help but be affected by the loss of their bandmate, with the four songs that were conceived after the accident all written either about Semin or inspired by him. Their second single, the riotous “B Lover,” is one of these tracks, but you don’t need to fully grasp the backstory to get sucked into its feverish tempo and go-for-broke delivery, with the band’s innate ear for a warm melody striking by the time the chorus kicks in.
It’s not necessarily the most representative song of the album — the band also cites The Ventures, Pavement, and Yo La Tengo as influences — but “B Lover” does serve to show the range of the rising band, capturing the spirit of the ’80s and ’90s indie that they love without feeling like they’re simply polishing it off for a new generation. Check out the tune above, and read Sumi Choi’s statement about the song below. Where We Were Together is out on April 13th on Damnably.
“Originally, we wrote the second single, ‘B Lover’ because we wanted to give it to Semin and Casey’s band, ‘Barbie Dolls’. Barbie Dolls play insanely fast garage rock and punk songs so it was always funny watching Semin struggle to keep up with the tempo whenever they played a show or recorded. We gave the song an incredibly fast tempo keeping in mind Semin’s laborious drumming and Casey’s jesting vocals, but when we couldn’t share it with them, the song was left idle for some time. After Semin’s accident, Casey constantly helped us, working with us on our performances, recordings, and songs for the second album, but he especially helped us when it came to perfecting the drum part on ‘B Lover.’ Byungyu sketched out the song with an image of Semin’s foolish drumming in mind, Casey arranged the drum part, bringing in some of his style, and finally the composition was completed when our current drummer, Changwon, filled in the details.
Even when it comes to writing lyrics, thoughts of Semin emerge. Although we’re often weighed down with complaints, worries and lies we tell ourselves, thinking of Semin always brings to mind his mischievous, funny smile. Little by little we feel we’re escaping the things that were once weighing us down. It seemed cool to just let go of worries about the future, buy as much good beer as we wanted to drink and ride taxis, even to nearby streets, like we had always done with Semin. His jokes and tastes are most like those in a B movie with a Type-B personality so we stuck the name ‘B Lover’ on the song. ‘B Lover’ is a short, familiar-feeling song that captures the current moment in the flow of thoughts and attitudes of us.”