As the 18-month rollout of girl group LOONA enters its final stretch, we’re left with only a few new members to introduce. Thankfully, the soundtrack to these introductions has become more and more impressive as the debut project deepens. Coming off the ambitious, experimental Odd Eye Circle sub-unit of the past two months, newest girl-of-the-month Yves has some big shoes to fill.
The atmospheric synth-pop of New is up to the task. Composed by the reliable duo of Daniel Caesar and Ludwig Lindell (of Red Flavor fame), the track melds LOONA’s quirkiness with a classic pop chorus. Its verses are a slow burn of deep, sinister synths and finger snap percussion — minimalist but with enough sonic heft to give Yves something to work with. The darker undertones of the instrumental contrast well with her light, airy vocals, but during the track’s a capella bridge, she proves able to maintain the mood without any help at all.
New‘s biggest treat is its sprawling chorus, which melds a dreamy vocal refrain to a beefed up electronic backing that approaches pure pop euphoria. I am loving this sudden influx of moody 80’s synth ballads in k-pop. File New right next to Snuper’s recent Dear and you’ve got a compelling case for artists mining retro sounds and twisting them just enough to make them feel fresh. I’m not sure that this is the absolute best we’ve heard from LOONA so far, but it certainly adds to their increasingly impressive (and diverse) discography. With all of this material to work with, it’s almost impossible to determine what the final group will sound like.