In the heated battle to release 2018’s K-pop song of the summer, GFriend have pulled out the big guns and enlisted producer Duble Sidekick for their new title track. Duble Sidekick have become forever entwined with this season after crafting many of Sistar’s iconic summer hits (Loving U, I Swear, Shake It), and they bring that same sugar rush energy to Sunny Summer (여름여름해). GFriend pull off the sound flawlessly, even if the end result may feel less idiosyncratic than much of their previous work.
As the song’s alliterative title might suggest, Sunny Summer is everything you’d expect from a mid-July release. The synths shimmer with breezy lightness, the brass-kissed chorus feels propulsive without ever challenging expectations, and the instrumental pulses with a nimble stream of funk percussion. As derivative as this all may be, there’s a certain level of comfort to be mined from the song’s simple arrangement and sparkling pop hooks.
While Sunny Summer ditches most of the “powerful innocence” concept that made GFriend such a force, their performance is enough to keep the song from drifting entirely into generic territory. Its pre-chorus is especially effective, building energy with a sudden tempo shift and reliably strong vocals from Yuju and SinB. The chorus feels a bit on the nose, drifting into an overly repetitive refrain when it should have absolutely exploded. Even so, Sunny Summer feels like a blissed out antidote to many of the year’s overused trends. All it’s missing is one of those trademark GFriend electric guitar breakdowns and a Yuju power note to set it over the edge.