It feels like we’re reaching the breaking point when it comes to the tropical house trend. Big name groups like BTS and BLACKPINK have managed to wring some life from it this past month, but when even lower-profile acts like Berry Good jump on the bandwagon, the market starts to feel a bit over-saturated.
Luckily, you could easily strip the tropical house elements from new single Don’t Believe (안 믿을래) and it would still be a pretty decent song in its own right. Berry Good impressed with April’s dramatic Angel, but this time around the beat goes slower and slinkier. The girls prove themselves to be well-suited to this particular style. While not as explosive as Angel‘s dynamic vocal performance, the group brings added maturity with their restrained delivery. In this regard, Don’t Believe reminds me of when Girl’s Day completely upended their sound with 2013’s Expectaton. Berry Good is not yet at that level, but they’re clearly aiming for it.
Don’t Believe‘s bubbling beat drives ever forward, assisted by a mix of synths and keys that gives the production a very full sound. I’m less a fan of the heavily processed instrumental that makes up the post-chorus breakdown. It’s not poorly produced or irritating — it’s just that it feels like it could have been copied and pasted from any number of tracks riding this particular trend. It would have been interesting (and perhaps more powerful) to take the song’s basic template and transpose a slightly different style of synth on top. I think that may have helped the track stand out more and ensure greater longevity. Instead, Don’t Believe settles for being a strong example of midtempo pop with tropical house influences when it could have been even more.