What’s with these AOA subunits and solos having such cringeworthy titles? I mean, I know it’s an English translation, but first we have “I’m Jelly, Baby” and now “Call You Bae.” Talk about appropriating the worst of western slang! Still, Jimin’s last solo track was called Puss (!), so I guess I should have tempered my expectations.
Jimin is well known for her helium-induced rapping style, which can definitely be an acquired taste. I understand why some might find it grating, but I’ve always found her voice to be pretty charming… in appropriate doses. In Call You Bae, she raps in more of a sing-songy way, and I’m not sure it completely works. It’s clear that she’s not a natural vocalist, and whenever her verses tread close to the melodic, the song feels slightly amateur in execution. Her charisma is undeniable throughout, but at times it just feels like a mismatch between artist and song.
Luckily, we’ve got the chorus to make up for any of the verses’ weaknesses. Jimin’s teamed with Exo’s Xiumin, who does an admirable job with an excellent hook. Like so many other recent tracks, the refrain is undercut by disco rhythm guitar. This is started to feel more like a major 2016 trend. It’s not even spring yet, and we’ve got all these bright, funk pop tracks. By summer, I expect we’ll be calling 2016 the year of innocent dance pop. This is totally fine by me, as it’s been awhile since we’ve heard so many bright, melodic kpop singles in a row. Call You Bae may not be at the forefront of these releases once the dust has settled, but it’s still a fun, breezy bit of pop to get us through these last weeks of winter.