Though he’s released a handful of solo material, Babylon’s most memorable role so far has been as the hook-man on Zico’s infectious party track Boys & Girls. New single LALALA echoes that song’s atmosphere, but proves that Babylon is more than capable of fronting a track of his own. It’s gotten to the point in k-pop where I barely remember what a non-tropical beat sounds like. But despite this over saturation, LALALA’s instrumental seriously grooves.
Yes, the marimba-infused track is nothing we haven’t heard before, but sometimes a beat just connects. It helps that Babylon himself has an effortless sense of rhythm, conjuring just as much funk from his vocal inflections as the production itself. He feels entirely in line with the addictive percussion constantly swirling around him. And even though the instrumental is really the star here, his commanding performance drives LALALA. I’ve always thought that he can sound a bit like Bigbang‘s Taeyang in places, and LALALA feels exactly like the chart-smashing single that should have been released rather than Darling and Wake Me Up.
Babylon is joined by Produce 101‘s Chungha on the track, who released her own tropical single earlier this year. I found her vocals overly strained back then, but that style works better in a featuring role. I won’t pretend that her tone is my favorite thing in the world to listen to, but it’s different enough from Babylon’s to provide a satisfying duet. K-pop’s tropical trend may (hopefully) be on its way out, but if that’s the case, LALALA is a more than satisfying send-off.