At the rate we’re going, 2019 might just set the record for having the most K-pop debuts. While the year has been relatively underwhelming so far, a rush of new acts has helped to buoy the industry. And with the arrival of Everglow, we’ve got yet another compelling girl group to add to the scene. The sextet is managed by Yue Hua Entertainment, a Chinese company who had previously dipped their toe into the K-pop market by co-managing Cosmic Girls (WJSN).
Debut single Bon Bon Chocolat (봉봉쇼콜라) is not perfect, but offers some refreshing elements that help Everglow to stand out. In many ways, its arrangement feels more like a typical boy group track, down to the boisterous beat drop at its core. This harder-edged sound is quite welcome, but I’m disappointed that the track falls back on the tired instrumental loop-as-chorus trope. Just when I think K-pop is starting to work its way out of this tedious structure, a song like this keeps the trend going.
This is unfortunate, because everything surrounding the beat drop is very enjoyable. Chocolat comes swinging out of the gate, with a frantic chant quickly followed by a charismatic, creeping verse. The pre-drop build is even better, bringing in clap-like percussion for a rallying cry of a hook that points to more exciting things to come. The girls deliver bucket loads of attitude without ever resorting to cloying cutesiness to get the job done. The heavily auto-tuned vocals are a stylistic choice I could have done without, but even with the computer manipulation, it’s clear that the group is home to a number of nice tones. Bon Bon Chocolat operates too stringently inside-the-K-pop-box to forge their raw talent into anything stupendous, but I think Everglow will get there eventually.