Girl group Badkiz is coming back after a year away. They haven’t yet found their place in the k-pop world, and a year’s hiatus certainly isn’t going to help that. This is no knock on Badkiz themselves, but it does make me wonder what their management is expecting from this new single. Unless you’re one of the A-list k-pop acts, you really can’t afford to be gone so long in between releases.
This fact frames exactly what’s problematic about Hothae (핫해). As a brass-driven dance track, it’s actually pretty strong. Its central instrumental hook calibrates well with the high energy club beat, even if its very existence feels overdone. But Badkiz desperately need to stand out. And, other than the crass booty shaking music video, there’s nothing about Hothae that’s particularly unique or novel. I wish the track offered the girls a better chance to display their charms. Instead, they come off as disappointingly anonymous — interchangeable with so many other groups in the market right now.
This is a common pitfall of k-pop rookies, so Badkiz definitely deserves a little wiggle room. On its own, Hothae packs a wallop of energy, feeling in some ways like a less fully-realized version of EXID. Though every element of the production has a generic monotony about it, it’s also a sound that’s proven to work. I’m usually not one for an instrumental riff taking the place of a proper chorus, but the squeaky brass sample at Hothae‘s core proves that there’s still some life left in this dying trend. If only it could have been grafted to a stronger song that took full advantage of the girls’ talents.