The list of k-pop groups with ridiculous names is very long, but few have been as head-scratchingly bizarre as “Weki Meki.” Fantagio’s new girl group arrives with a decent amount of hype thanks to four of its members’ participation in season one of Produce 101, but that good will is seriously tested by a strange concept and messy debut song. Fantagio has proven to be a mixed bag with idol groups so far, successfully steering Astro’s upbeat pop style while struggling to find a through-line for girl group Hello Venus. If I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend is any indication, Weki Meki may have a challenging road ahead of them.
One of k-pop’s best assets is its ability to fuse multiple genres together — at times forging one track from what sounds like pieces of a dozen others. I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend attempts this feat, but struggles to find the sweet spot between cohesion and experimentation. The song blasts out of the gate with a clatter-trap of sounds, driven by a hardstyle snare beat that resounds with much more aggressive force than most girl groups attempt. Then, for the next three minutes, Girlfriend throws a grab bag of stylistic curves at listeners. Some work better than others.
The verses offer playful blips of electro hip-hop, but little melody to help them stand out. Similarly, the chorus forgoes a sense of melody for its bratty repetition of the song’s titular line. This results in Girlfriend coming across as a playground taunt rather than an actual song. While designed to create a fresh, exciting atmosphere, the unending stream of musical shifts only undercuts the girls’ ability to harness their own talents and charms. It’s as if Weki Meki are a slave to their own instrumental, in constant whiplash without a guiding force to anchor any of their candy-coated hooks.