Co-ed group K.A.R.D’s pre-release strategy has been ambitious and quite successful, and with Rumor they’ve completed the trilogy of singles that herald their upcoming debut. If K.A.R.D’s story so far is one of rising tension and interest, we should be heading toward a climax. But strangely enough, the group has given us similar-sounding tracks three times in a row — each slightly less effective than the last. Their international success is no joke, but I’m not sure this is the strongest direction to be heading musically.
Rumor augments their tropical house influences with a heavy dose of reggaeton, giving the track a groove that remains consistent throughout. This is at the expense of any sort of build, which definitely blunts the strength of the song’s chorus and post-chorus instrumental hook. The production isn’t bad, but it’s far less ambitious than either of their previous tracks. K.A.R.D have made a habit out of concocting a simple “point dance” for each of their singles, performed over a tropical house synth riff that usually becomes the song’s centerpiece. I love that this hearkens back to the simpler days of k-pop, but Rumor‘s hook just isn’t as engaging as Oh NaNa‘s or Don’t Recall‘s. Maybe it’s time to switch things up.
With that said, Rumor is still another solid effort from the group. The overbearing autotune that frames the first verse is not the best of choices, but it was a smart move to have J.Seph and B.M. kick off the track. And while the melody isn’t as instantly memorable as listeners may have hoped, there are enough subtle hooks buried within to give it the staying power needed to appear on many summertime playlists. If nothing else, Rumor cements KARD’s sound, laying a groundwork that will hopefully result in more experimentation as they move toward their official debut.