Over the past few months, LOONA’s pre-release tracks have taken on an edgier, synth-kissed style that positions the girls just outside the mainstream. This has cultivated an ever-increasing buzz among international fans, but hasn’t led to any substantial commercial success. From the trendy sound of Heart Attack, it seems as if new member Chuu is out to change that.
This is both a good and bad thing. LOONA can only survive on hype for so long. Eventually, they’re going to need to start selling albums and booking promotional campaigns. I would love if this could be accomplished without sacrificing the group’s musical integrity, but in k-pop that’s easier said than done. Heart Attack feels like an attempt to replicate the kind of success Red Velvet found this year with the boisterous Red Flavor, adding a heavy dose of brassy, Ailee-style bombast for good measure.
This cut-and-paste collage of sounds isn’t particularly interesting, but it gets the job done. Chuu gives a polished performance, even if I wish she’d have brought a greater sense of personality to the song’s more generic moments. Heart Attack‘s instrumental swings with a percussive force from its very first moments, offering a thrilling verse that feels as if it’s going to bloom into something special. Unfortunately, the song’s chorus never quite goes anywhere. It’s catchy, for sure, but lacks the kind of enigmatic nuance that marks the best of LOONA’s pre-release material. Instead, we’re left with a solid k-pop song that could have been delivered by just about anyone to similar effect.