Most of us first met M.O.N.T when they participated in YG’s survival series MIXNINE. They earned the nickname of “mountain idols” because their small agency was located in the mountainous countryside, creating quite a contrast from the otherwise Seoul-centered K-pop industry. That unique story, combined with their endearing personalities, made them a rookie to watch. They first released music back in 2017, with the digital release of Sorry. But, new single Will You Be My Girlfriend? (사귈래 말래?) acts as a re-debut of sorts, spearheading their first mini-album.
As a push into the mainstream, the song leaves something to be desired. I get what they’re going for. Girlfriend is a lighthearted dance track with focus on upbeat hip-hop attitude. Honestly, it’s right within my wheelhouse. But, a grating hook really deflates the song’s potential. The sing-song chorus verges on shrill — so frenzied in its desire to be memorable that it becomes more off-putting than catchy. I applaud the guys for choosing vocals over instrumental drops, but the result lacks the finesse necessary for a song like this to truly take off.
That’s a shame, because I appreciate the direction M.O.N.T are heading. Girlfriend has a rowdy, unbothered appeal that would likely work well in a live setting. Its fizzy synths give the instrumental some polish and the entire production manages to sidestep the temptation to slide into some god-awful trap breakdown. And as irritating as I find its chorus, the sheer repetitive drive recalls a simpler time when K-pop was all about upbeat hook songs. There’s potential here, but it only peeks out every so often.