The Produce 101 rush of debuts continues with Choon Entertainment’s Longguo and Shihyun. Duos are not particularly common in k-pop, and I assume the two will eventually become part of a larger group. But for now, both performers complement each other well even if portions of their material leave something to be desired.
I can’t even express how much I despise the.the.the‘s opening verse. Its lurching beat, driven by an ugly murkiness of warped synths, defines a certain k-pop style that can’t fall out of fashion soon enough. I understand that this dark mood is popular with many, but for me it’s little more than a placeholder that does nothing to drive a song forward. It’s as if the song never gets a chance to get going, stuck in a constant reset that leaves little opportunity for any sense of melody to break through. Beyond that, these elements are just a slog to get through from a pure aesthetic perspective.
Luckily, the.the.the soon morphs into something different. As a percolation of electro bass joins the fray, the track begins to take on a more dance-oriented arrangement. The production retains the fluidity of the verses, but feels as if it finally has some sort of through-line holding everything together. It helps that the chorus appeals with its blend of catchy simplicity and chic aloofness. If only this sentiment had been more uniformly spread throughout the.the.the‘s running time. Longguo and Shihyun do a polished, charismatic job with what they’re given, but ultimately the song is only enjoyable in fits and starts.