When it was announced that Golden Child would be working with Sweetune for their comeback, I was absolutely elated. Not only would 2017’s most-promising rookie group be paired with my favorite producers, but it would also be the first time that Woollim Entertainment has worked with Sweetune on a title track since 2014. The agency made their name on the genius pairing of Infinite and Sweetune, which resulted in the most unbeatable string of singles k-pop has ever seen. I’d like nothing more than for that level of quality to re-emerge in 2018, but I tend to be most critical when it comes to the things I love dearly.
Golden Child seem like an ideal partner for Sweetune’s upbeat sound — and I still think they are — but It’s U (너라고) is not among the team’s most transcendent efforts. Over the past year or so, Sweetune have supplied groups like Snuper and 100% with a more sophisticated aesthetic, and I would have loved to hear more of that within It’s U‘s sugary pop assault. The song adheres to a bright template established by works like 2013’s Man In Love, and it could have done with a bit of that track’s sense of dynamics and breathing room. Instead, It’s U rushes right out of the gate, surging on a wave of perky synths. There seems to be very little attention given to the instrumental’s lower end, resulting in a fizzy uniformity more characteristic of Sweetune’s work in Japan. I’m not sure it sets the best backdrop to display the members’ individual charms, which is one of their biggest selling points.
With that said, Sweetune still know their way around a hook. It’s U‘s chorus is maddeningly catchy in a way that very little k-pop is these days. You’ll be singing it back after just one listen. Its chant-like rhythm recalls An Inconvenient Truth, as well as the entire first year of Infinite’s career. One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Woollim is their willingness to embrace k-pop’s more classic sound. It’s U does not sound trendy in the least, and that’s to its credit. It’s an unabashedly fun piece of pop fluff — and that’s as good a place as any to start what will hopefully become a lasting collaboration between producer and artist. Now we just have to wait patiently for Golden Child to deliver their Chaser.