After a strong start to the year, Cube Entertainment has collapsed in recent weeks with the mishandling of the E’Dawn/HyunA dating “scandal” and BTOB members’ impending military enlistments. It’s bound to be a rough road in the coming months, but new girl group (G)I-DLE remains a bright spot for the agency. Their May debut saw unexpectedly massive success, even though it adhered to a well-worn tropical pop sound. Thankfully, follow-up Hann (한(一)) retains the girls’ unique charisma but ventures into more interesting musical territory.
Much has been made of BLACKPINK becoming 2NE1’s successors, but (G)I-DLE seem more than capable of vying for that title as well. Hann embraces the edgier side of K-Pop girl groups, but doesn’t sacrifice strong pop melody in the process. Built on an evocative whistle that sounds as if its been torn straight from an old western (or horror) movie, Hann’s opening verse employs a simple, but effective melody. An atmospheric brush of strings gives this segment added drama and — more importantly — steers it away from current trends.
After an extended build, Hann impresses with its airy, harmonized hook. It’s not a particularly fleshed out chorus, but it’s so gorgeously arranged. The simplicity is striking, especially since the melody chooses to go soft rather than hard-hitting. In its own way, this shift completely upends expectations and really sets Hann apart from the crowd. The production could have gone even punchier here to fully tease out the contrast, but it’s still compelling in its dark, cinematic atmosphere. If (G)I-DLE can maintain (and build on) this quality, there’s no reason they can’t sit comfortably alongside K-Pop’s a-list.