Over the past few years, Apink have stuck to a very familiar pop sound. For many, it felt like the group was simply spinning their wheels rather than expand expectations of what an Apink single could be. While this tried and true formula resulted in a steady level of success, the girls ran the risk of being eclipsed by younger acts with fresher sounds. New single I’m So Sick (1도 없어) attempts to break free from this rut, enlisting mega-producers Black Eyed Pilseung for a novel twist on the tropical trend.
I’m So Sick opens with its most interesting collage of sounds, as a series of warped background vocals cascade in unexpected directions. This is complemented by some gorgeous synth notes, giving the song an ethereal atmosphere all its own. From here, the instrumental moves toward a more standard tropical beat, retaining its eccentricities as ornamentation rather than a driving force. This is a bit of a shame. But, the cool, experimental stuff still shines through, culminating in a brief burst of distorted guitar as Sick reaches its climax.
While the song is more upbeat than most recent Apink material, its melody carries a hint of melancholy that sets it apart from traditional dance tracks. In this way, its airy structure recalls Chungha’s Roller Coaster (also produced by Black Eyed Pilseung). Main vocal Eunji’s rich vocals are particularly well-suited to this nuanced tone, but all the girls give solid performances. And even if I wish the chorus would explode just a bit more, there’s so much to chew on here. I’m So Sick might not pack the pop punch of Apink’s breakout 2012-2014 material, but it presents an exciting new road map for the next stage of their career.
I agree with you that the chorus can be more “rich” (?) since I thought the verses are kind of empty. However, this song is my jam for this week and many positive comments coming from some reviews I read. A lot of people worrying that this song gonna be Apink’s Fingertip because of the dramatic change of their repertoire, but it seems that they charting well in SK.
As a music critic that has quite into Kpop for years, do you have any thought about the dramatic change in one group that has been known for a particular concept in terms of music? Is there any certain (music) factor that may bring a new concept into doom like Fingertip, or become gate opener for others (let’s say Momoland from standard bubblegum pop to disco track)
Well, I ask you because many Kpop reviewers heavily talk this thing limited to their “concept”, without trying to see other perspectives, like the music. Hope you understand my question, thank you!
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I think if the change feels organic, it doesn’t matter how dramatic it is. What I don’t appreciate is when a group makes a change simply to fit within current trends. This reeks of pandering.
Both Apink and Momoland’s latest comebacks may be a bit of a shift from their older style, but neither goes down generic routes to get there. And more importantly, neither feels like it’s undermining the group’s previous work. I think I’m So Sick and Bboom Bboom/BAAM are still generally within their group’s concepts, and that’s important.
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