Song Review: LOONA – Hi High

At the risk of alienating their passionate base of fans, I’m not sure if LOONA and I will ever fully click. I get why they’re popular — the ambitious roll-out, the interconnecting storylines, the endless fan theories — but it’s been awhile since their actual music lived up to that hype. FavOrite was a promising pre-release, but its odd production held the song back. And Hi High (their official debut) goes hyper cute rather than delve into the more interesting sounds promised by some of the LOONA solos and sub-unit releases.

LOONA has returned to producers from the Monotree studio often throughout their pre-release run, and it makes sense that Hi High would see them team up once again. The song’s upbeat, synth-filled sound hearkens back to their first sub-unit — LOONA 1/3. It also feels a lot like something Lovelyz would record for one of their albums. Neither of these aspects is an automatic negative, but Hi High has a sense of “been there, done that” that’s surprisingly tame for such a high-profile debut.

My favorite part of Hi High actually comes right at the beginning, where we get some incredibly atmospheric, icy synths. Unfortunately, this is quickly jettisoned in favor of a much more generic instrumental. The verses move at a breakneck pace, leading to an aegyo-infused pre-chorus. From here, we move into love-it-or-hate-it territory. Hi High’s chorus is quite repetitive, and performed with a chirpy energy that will either thrill or grate depending on your taste. I’m somewhere in the middle, but I don’t imagine this relatively flat, ultra-peppy chorus will have much staying power. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, especially given the immense amount of love LOONA has received from many K-pop fans. But for now, I remain mostly mystified by their appeal.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25



13 thoughts on “Song Review: LOONA – Hi High

  1. In particular, it’s not clear why the pre-debut tracks of single members were so different in style, mood and rhythm while this debut ep sounds (quite) all the same from the beginning to the end. I’ve listened to it three times in a row and I can’t remember a single refrain. Bah: (G)I-dle remains by far the most exciting debut of the year.


  2. I wanted they’re official Debut to be more unique but I still love the song. The album is pretty cohesive in my opinion. I love perfect love and stylish.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with the general sentiment here, but I disagree with the Loona 1/3 and Lovelyz comparison for several reasons (mainly that Loona 1/3 and Lovelyz are great). I have some relevant musical analysis coming for your comments section but I’m going to have to open up Microsoft Word. Maybe I should just make my own blog?

    P.S. FavOrite had great production, the problem for me was melody and “vocal clutter.” if you will.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Love the reviews, but I’m going to cry if I find out you haven’t listened to the b-sides on their debut album. Hi High was a solid choice for their debut song, but Stylish, Heat (9) and Perfect Love are all much more interesting and sophisticated songs.


    • I did listen to them! Hopefully you won’t cry to hear that none of the b-sides clicked all that strongly with me 😦
      My favorite LOONA-related b-sides are still probably Loonatic and Frozen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I might’ve shed a couple tears (inside, that is). I’ve personally really enjoyed most of LOONA’s discography so far (especially some of the solo b-sides!) but I totally understand why it wouldn’t appeal to everyone. It looks like they’re going for a more mature and slower theme for the repackage though so I’ll be interested to see how you react to that next.


        • One of my (unpublished) k-pop resolutions is to give all their music a second (or third) chance. I didn’t actively dislike any of it the first time around, but I feel like it kind of got lost in the shuffle for me.


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