Apink have become well-known for releasing non-comeback “songs for the fans” on their debut anniversary. Today marks their fifth year together, so twenty-four hours after main vocal Eunji released her first solo work, the girls are gifting us with The Wave. As usual, it’s a rousing ballad tailor-made for concert encore stages.
Thankfully, the instrumental has more bite to it than I was expecting. The Wave isn’t a barn-burner by any stretch of the imagination, but the producers wisely favored a driving guitar beat over the down-tempo instrumental often found in these types of songs. This focus on anthemic production makes up for the melody, which is pretty standard confetti-drop fare. Still, it’s a case of “don’t fix what’s not broken.” Yes, The Wave follows an established template, down to its vocal peaks and soaring bridges, but it’s a template that largely works, especially in this context.
Had this been a full-fledged comeback, I would have been disappointed (to say the least), but I come into these types of commemorative songs with exceedingly low expectations. The fact that The Wave has a tempo at all sets it above the pack for this genre. I do wish the members were given more to do vocally. Yes, the chorus aims to soar, but it’s more of a group effort than a case of one or two vocal performances really standing out. This levels the field to a point where it starts to feel a bit generic, as if it could have been delivered by any number of kpop girl groups.