Honey Bee is one of those songs that’s just oozing potential from the get-go. Taking f(x)‘s Luna, EXID’s Hani and Mamamoo‘s Solar and setting them loose on a big diva pop track is definitely an exciting prospect. But as we learned with last year’s Triple T collaboration, big names don’t always mean quality songs.
While Honey Bee may not completely deliver on its promise, it does its best to become Korea’s answer to 2014’s global hit Bang Bang. It’s a big, brassy stomper of a song, underlined by a squeaky, persistent sax refrain. But even so, the instrumental is surprisingly simple, opting for a straightforward bop when it could have done with more density and layering. That repeated brass hook is by far the track’s most grating moment, adding an unnecessary screechiness that steals attention from Honey Bee‘s most important asset: the girls’ vocals.
Luckily, the trio delivers a finer performance than the song itself. These are three undeniable pros, each with enough star wattage to captivate listeners during even the slightest of melodies. On their own, they’re pretty distinct vocalists, but their tones here are oddly similar, blending well but not offering all that much aural diversity. The song’s simple — almost chanted — chorus doesn’t allow for the kind of bombastic vocal blend and harmony that would have helped Honey Bee really soar. Instead, it feels almost like the track is missing a rap verse or two, since the focus here seems to be on attitude over big vocal moments. It’s enjoyable stuff, but Honey Bee feels more like a fun burst of throwaway pop than the memorable moment these powerhouses deserve.