Girl group Laboum have been on the cusp of breaking through for several years now. They have a strong discography under their belt, but every time they release a single it feels as if it’s missing that extra little oomph that might help them climb to their rightful position at the top of the charts. With Hwi Hwi (휘휘), they’ve finally found the song that they needed. It’s the finest, most instant piece of pop they’ve recorded yet.
At first, I was convinced that Hwi had been produced by the Iggy/Youngbae duo responsible for GFriend’s string of singles. The song borrows that same explosive, buoyant sound and twists it to fit Laboum’s own style. Instead, the song was composed by a team of European writers, drawing on the purest pop formula they could muster. Hwi‘s megawatt chorus bursts into life with such forceful melodic confidence that it feels as if it had written itself. The addictive whistling refrain that offsets the main melody only adds to the sugary bombast, resulting in a knockout combination of hooks.
While Hwi‘s verses aren’t quite as striking, they’re bolstered by an incredible instrumental that merges runs of synthesized drums with jubilant chants and a ceaseless sense of upbeat musical joy. It’s a shot of pop energy just when we needed it the most. Too many k-pop songs these days attempt to do too much, switching between tempos and genres and breakdowns and build-ups. But when it comes down to it, you can’t beat the basics: an enormous chorus and a potent instrumental that never lets up. With Hwi, Laboum have found both, and it will be a shame if they’re not rewarded with greater commercial success.