The year of debuts rolls on with the first new girl group of 2019. Cherry Bullet hails from FNC Entertainment, home to AOA. Perhaps inspired by their seniors, the girls have been teasing a video game concept similar to last year’s Bingle Bangle. And true to form, Q&A feels like Bingle Bangle with more bite. With ten members, the song doesn’t give anyone a chance to stand out on their own, but it does offer a fun blast of uptempo dance pop that bodes well for their future.
“Girl crush” has been a huge keyword over the past few years. Cherry Bullet don’t quite hit that stereotype, and steer just close enough to the middle to dodge the “cutesy” label as well. Their sound may be criticized by some as being too safe or indefinable, but I think this actually positions them well. It also reminds me of a simpler time in K-pop, where groups didn’t have to fit into an easily characterized label. Instead of worrying too much about embracing trends, Q&A paints its energetic style with broad brushstrokes, anchored by a series of catchy refrains and a bright, synth-infused bounce that hints at a more retro-inspired sound.
Right from the start, I was impressed by Q&A’s rubbery electro beat. It incorporates elements of funk and disco, giving the instrumental plenty of drive. The verses are tautly structured, moving from a more percussive delivery to moments of soaring melody. The drumline-esque pre-chorus chant is also fun, recalling After School’s immortal Bang. After such an exciting set-up, the chorus falls a bit flat. It’s still a ton of fun — and underlined by a delightfully sunny instrumental — but I hoped for a bigger melody. Maybe we’ll get that next time. For now, this is another impressive debut to add to 2019’s already stacked line-up.
Maybe it’s just me, but try to imagine this as a Seventeen comeback. I was immediately reminded of them when I noticed the bass guitar, and I honestly feel like this song (pitched down a bit) would fit them quite well and blend nicely with Woozi and Bumzu’s other works. I haven’t listened to Home yet because I’m a bit scared of what I’ll hear, but this seems to fit the bill of what I hope to hear from them in the future, at least to an extent.
I’ll be curious to hear what you end up thinking about Home.
I, too, often imagine girl group songs performed by boy groups, and vice versa. I think my opinion of many K-pop tracks would change depending on the type of group performing them. It feels like there’s a cool concept in this somewhere…
I wonder how many songwriters actively gender their work while they’re composing it, and how many just try to crank out a good song regardless and worry about the specifics of the group later.
I’ve wondered about that, too! As far as switching the gender of the performers, for me, it seems like many boy group songs would be just as enjoyable if sung by girl groups, but not always vice versa. Songs sung by girl groups more often than not give off the vibe that they were actually WRITTEN for girl groups exclusively — or maybe that’s just the more feminine dances affecting my opinion? Regardless, boy group songs seem much more ambiguous in general.
Now that I’ve listened to Home, I still maintain the opinion I stated in my first comment, but I quite like the song and would give it the same rating you did! I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d noticed already, but the most important aspect of a song to me is whether or not it sounds like the artist. I can deal with empty choruses, autotune, and just about any trope you throw at me — it just has to sound like the singer. Home is an odd track, a confusing one that left me questioning its direction more often than not, but it excels in what it does. I enjoy voices I normally tolerate and love voices I enjoy. The last chorus in particular really drove it home and, for the first time in a while, I felt like the song ended too soon. Only time will tell if I end up loving it as much as I do with the added shock factor.
It sounds like to me you have a bit of a bias towards whoever a groups first producers or songwriters are then? What do you mean “sounds like” the singer. Seventeen is lucky because they use in house producers at Pledis so their artist’s tracks are bound to have some kind of consistency but not all Kpop groups have that luxury.
I like when certain groups work with certain producers, I haven’t really enjoyed a G-Friend song very much since Fingertip and generally think their post Iggy and Youngbae discography is disappointing but its not because I think it doesn’t “sound” like them. It’s because the production style, hooks and song structure don’t really excite me like Iggy and Youngbae’s first string of singles did.
Also often Kpop groups who don’t find immediate success will change producers or concepts until they find a foothold and then continue in that style. But even then so many groups jump around in sounds and don’t have that much consistency. I wonder why it is the MOST important thing when you consider a song.
I didn’t have much expectations for Cherry Bullet but I found myself really enjoying this. Everything just gives me vibes of Kpop around 2012 which I’ve been craving ever since Tropical House came to invade the industry. The vocals in the chorus are quite nice. Now that you mention Bang!, with the energy that Cherry Bullet gives out I genuinely think they coul totally rock something akin to that.
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