Hash Tag could have been a clever name for a k-pop group a few years ago, but now it feels a little dated. Still, all rookie groups are worthy of a chance, no matter how lame their name may be. And with ㅇㅇ (graciously given the added title of “Hue” because… well, how are you supposed to pronounce ㅇㅇ? And for that matter, what is a ㅇㅇ?) the girls are bounding onto the rookie scene with energy to spare. Unfortunately, it’s all a bit too messy, tethered to a song that is the very definition of generic girl group k-pop.
There’s certainly a place for generic, especially if executed well. But as an unknown act from a small agency, Hash Tag needs to stamp their name in the sand and demand attention. Hue kicks off with a bright fizz of synths before dissolving into a verse so stuffed with melodic shifts and charm appeals that it all skips by without leaving any mark at all. The girls are in full cute mode, transforming each moment into the kind of chirpy, impossibly gleeful exclamation that only works if a song is strong enough to support such frivolities.
I can see Hue‘s chorus becoming an earworm, though I’m not sure it will be a welcome one. There’s catchy, and then there’s cloying. The girls have taken influence from mega-stars Twice by clipping notes you might expect to soar, which blunts the force of the melody to result in a sing-song delivery that sounds more like a playground rhyme than a proper pop song. And without the quirkier, more hip-hop influenced touches of the groups they seek to emulate, Hash Tag comes off as a copy of a copy, diluted to the point where they’re rendered completely redundant.