The story of Sunny Hill is that of a group slowly and incrementally losing their color. It’s hard to believe that the girls giving us On The Way Home (집으로 가는 길) are the same ones who delivered such creative dance tracks as Midnight Circus and The Grasshopper Song. It’s even harder to imagine that the group actually started as a co-ed trio way back in 2007. In short, there have been way too many versions of Sunny Hill, and this newest iteration is losing its potency with each passing release.
With that said, On The Way Home isn’t a bad song. It’s a ridiculously odd type of thing to release as a pop single, but it definitely has its throwback charm. The key word here is “throwback,” as the entire track feels lifted from some tv special from the 60’s or 70’s. There are elements of trot at its core, but its melody borrows just as much from western influences. The tune has a lilting breeziness to it, moving along at a sprightly pace without leaving much in its wake. The instrumentation is similarly lightweight, utilizing a near-constant string section to give the song a strong classical (or even Broadway musical) appeal. There are also some unbelievably cheesy background vocals that rear their head most prominently at the song’s climax — the type you’d expect to hear in a kid’s Christmas cartoon.
This has the potential to be a complete embarrassment, but I’m kind of digging Home‘s musical earnestness. As a k-pop single in 2016, it’s nothing short of a complete head scratcher, but as an example of the kind of classic songwriting we rarely hear nowadays, it’s a pleasant surprise. It’s not the type of thing I would want on constant repeat, but it’s just left-field enough to stand out. I have no idea what it means for Sunny Hill as a group, but like I said, they’ve been struggling with their sound and identity for awhile now.