Fans of mega-successful project group I.O.I probably haven’t been very happy with me over the year, as I haven’t often been kind to their music. This is despite absolutely loving Pick Me and the Produce 101 series that spawned the group. Beyond that, it’s been hard for me to understand the hype. In general, the whole I.O.I phenomenon just seems like a wasted opportunity.
To close out their existence as a group, the girls have given us Very Very Very (너무너무너무). And luckily, it’s their best post-show title track to date. Produced by JYP, the song bludgeons listeners over the head with an absolute assault of repetitive catchiness. It’s like Girls’ Generation’s Gee seen through the warped prism of Red Velvet’s Dumb Dumb. And though it’s definitely not as musically successful as either of those tracks, its undeniable energy suits the group in a way that past releases haven’t.
Very‘s instrumental has a manic, breakneck pace that feels off-putting at first, but ingratiates itself over repeated listens. The production could have done with a bit more warmth. Even a semblance of live instrumentation would have grounded the track. As it stands, the entire thing flies by on a blitz of electropop that feels too brisk and disconnected to really grab onto. And then there’s the chorus, which stands as the song’s catchiest moment. Of course, “catchy” isn’t always synonymous with “quality,” and the jury’s out whether this repetitive hook will have staying power or is simply of-the-moment junk food. I lean toward the latter, but even if this is the case, I’m pleased that the melody at least engages in the moment. After all, isn’t that what I.O.I has been about the entire time? By definition, they weren’t built to last. The same can be said about Very Very Very, but it offers more bubblegum pop thrills than the group have given us in some time.