Looking back on my past reviews of Gugudan’s discography, I’ve been a little hard on the group. I’ve never actively disliked one of their songs, but every time they make a comeback I feel like they’re failing to live up to their potential. The “series of theatrical acts” conceit that fuels their music is wonderfully high-concept and feels like the female version of their brother group VIXX. The difference is that Gugudan just haven’t had the opportunity to deliver that one big, breakout song yet. And as solidly constructed as The Boots is, I’m afraid their elusive search continues.
Last single Chococo certainly didn’t skimp on hooks, even if they were somewhat infantile and bubblegum. The Boots’ electro whistle feels much more sophisticated, but the song is one indelible refrain short of really standing out. The girls’ adopt a sexier persona this time around, incorporating a stronger r&b flavor than Chococo. Though the song’s vocals fall almost entirely to the ubiquitous Sejeong, the vampy melody allows for plenty of showing off. It’s strange, then, that Boots never builds to any meaningful climax. We have multiple bridges and breakdowns, but the energy remains lodged at the same level throughout.
With that said, I think this is the general sound that Gugudan should be pursuing. They can’t be content with Boots‘ pleasant bop of a beat. Their music should be pushing harder. But, this style suits them better than the cutesy route. There’s a market for a girl group unafraid to take the chic route, and despite their silly name, Gugudan would do well to capitalize on that.