Comparing the debuts of UNI.T and UNB encapsulates the k-pop scene as a whole. Both groups hail from KBS’s survival series The Unit, but there’s clearly been a stronger promotional focus on the boys. Not only did UNI.T debut second, but they’ve been given less original tracks and a cheaper music video (compared to UNB’s pair of glossy, high-budget mvs). This mirrors industry trends, as most girl groups are far less likely to release full, double-title track albums than their male contemporaries. And this is coming from someone who generally prefers boy group material!
Nonetheless, No More (넘어) has one big advantage over UNB’s debut. KBS has enlisted superstar producer Shinsadong Tiger — fresh off his massive success with Momoland’s Bboom Bboom — to compose the track. But those who expect another high-energy bubblegum bop will be surprised by No More’s restraint. The song is a slice of summery reggae-pop, reminiscent of Wonder Girls’ 2016 hit Why So Lonely. It’s an interesting genre choice to launch the girls’ promotional run, as The Unit’s performances generally focused on more traditional girl group k-pop.
On first listen, No More feels a bit underwhelming. It never rises above its mid-tempo groove, even as the galvanizing pre-choruses point towards more exciting tempos. But, this is where the girls of UNI.T come in. Voters selected some impressive vocalists, ensuring that No More‘s chorus pulses with unexpected power and charisma. Impressive harmonies abound, transforming an otherwise humdrum hook into something that quickly becomes addictive. It’s not the kind of song I’d immediately drag to the top of my playlist, but it will likely enjoy staying power throughout the summer.