Back in 2016, when I.O.I charted the course for what a post-Produce 101 group would look like, I felt like one of the few listeners who didn’t completely succumb to their charms. Part of that was due to an uneven series of releases with a quality level that didn’t seem to match the girls’ potential. But when Wanna One debuted last August with the brilliant Energetic, I figured that YMC (Produce 101’s management company) had finally sorted things out.
If the ultra-generic Boomerang (부메랑) is any indication, I was sadly mistaken. Wanna One have proven themselves to be a goldmine when it comes to variety, making bonafide stars out of a seemingly disparate group of personalities. But past their debut mini album, YMC doesn’t seem to be interested in investing any effort into their music. As innocuously pleasant as Boomerang is, it is a sound far beneath expectations for one of k-pop’s leading acts. I’m all for groups challenging a new style, but Wanna One does nothing exciting with this now tired blend of EDM and hip-hop.
Boomerang opens with an ultra familiar collage of trap beats and squealing electronics, segueing into an opening verse that relies more on sing-talk than any discernible melody. Next, the song launches into an unimaginative build before its let-down of a drop. I was feeling optimistic that k-pop had finally done away with these no-chorus choruses, but Boomerang chooses to look backward and present a fragmented hook that feels as if it’s missing an extra melody line. The guys do what they can with this meager material, but even the formidable force of their personalities isn’t enough to draw interest. Boomerang sounds like the work of a rookie group hampered by a limited budget, not the long-awaited comeback from 2017’s biggest breakout act.