Bite Review: Kiss of Life’s “Midas Touch” is Pure Y2K Nostalgia, For Better and For Worse

Bite Review: Kiss of Life’s “Midas Touch” is Pure Y2K Nostalgia, For Better and For Worse

Amidst the enormous pool of fourth and fifth generation K-pop talent, it’s not easy to make a splash. Despite coming from a small company, Kiss of Life did just that with their July 2023 debut. The members, a quartet of industry veterans, have brought consistent skills and striking confidence to all their releases so far, and that continues with their new single “Midas Touch.”  

What sets “Midas Touch” apart from previous Kiss of Life comebacks is its incredibly literal interpretation of the Y2K trend—still thriving in K-pop, though arguably past its peak popularity and relevance. As an intensely 2000s era mid-tempo beat bounces and airy synths blast, Kiss of Life play coquettish femme fatales:

Boy, if I touch ya, kiss ya

Watch out, the gaze that changed in an instant

You see, I got that Midas touch

As the “ya”s might hint, Kiss of Life’s Y2K tribute extends to their phrasing; Indeed, Julie and Natty’s vocal delivery in particular feels like an obvious, and extremely spot-on, tribute to Britney Spears. Visually, the MV for “Midas Touch” embraces kitsch and the glories of glitter (the rule is that if you think it’s very sparkly, that means it needs more sparkles), two fundamental pillars of Y2K diva pop. It all comes together into a delightfully nostalgic, playful package.

If “Midas Touch” has a weakness, it is that in its (admirable) commitment to concept, it risks becoming merely a cute throwback with nothing to say about who Kiss of Life actually are in the year 2024. With a comeback as fun and well-executed as “Midas Touch,” it feels mean-spirited to nitpick. Still, a slight break of the Y2K mold, whether in styling, production, visuals, or lyrics, could have transformed the track from a stellar homage into a stellar retro-inspired, but unmistakably contemporary, release.

As a single album, Midas Touch gets that kick of modernity from its sole b-side, the gorgeous breakup ballad “Nothing.” As a pop R&B track, “Nothing” also has Y2K influences, but they are far less dominant than in “Midas Touch,” largely due to the fuller, more distinctly 2020s production style. With its emotional maturity and stunning vocals (especially from main vocalist Belle, shifting effortlessly between powerful belts and borderline whistle notes), “Nothing” is almost guaranteed to become a fan favorite.  

Despite its imperfections, “Midas Touch” is just too fun to deny. Kiss of Life’s charisma, and ability to bring a concept to full and incredibly fun life, is on brilliant display. As the talented group head towards their first anniversary, it will be exciting to see them continue to develop the energy showcased in “Midas Touch,” especially if they put it towards realizing slightly more unique, distinctly Kiss of Life, concepts.

(YouTube. Lyrics via YouTube. Images via S2 Entertainment.)

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