K-pop debuts are getting all kinds of complicated this year. Flavor are not technically a newly debuted group, but a sub-unit of yet-to-debut girl group Fanatics. The fact that both of these names start with the letter “f” makes them easy to mix-up, but I hope the synth-driven Milkshake is a sign of the sound Fanatics will end up pursuing.
Flavor also represents one the earliest activities for a Produce 48 contestant outside of the series’ winning group IZ*ONE. Kim Do Ah — who placed 34th during the show’s penultimate elimination — is among the Flavor trio. Perhaps its because of the sub-unit’s three-member configuration, but Milkshake reminds me of a more subdued version of the quirky Orange Caramel. That’s definitely not a bad thing.
Right away, Milkshake unveils its central synth-pop loop. The bulk of the song revolves around this simple bit of instrumentation. That may seem limiting, but it actually gives the track focus. It helps that the retro groove is quite addictive, refreshingly aloof when it could have easily gone full aegyo. The sing-talk verses approximate rap, but have a more melodic appeal. In fact, the entire song is delivered in this way. Its hook is more of a playful aside than a full chorus, culminating in a cheesy sprinkle of percussion enticing listeners to the track’s shaking point dance. It’s not high art — nor is it meant to be. But, I’m surprised at how much I enjoy this sugary confection.