As you might have guessed from reading my glowing end-of-year coverage, Golden Child have become my personal bias group from this new generation of K-pop. So what happens when my favorite group releases a song based on one of my least favorite genres?
To be fair, Spring Again (그러다 봄) isn’t really an official comeback. The group has been on hiatus since the end of the last year, with main vocal Joochan sidelined by injury. It’s been a long wait for new music since October’s excellent Genie, which only makes Spring more frustrating. It may be billed as a “special album” — or a “gift for the fans” — but it feels more like an admission that full-fledged activities from the group are still a ways off. That’s not what any fan wants to hear, even if it’s delivered in a toe-tapping package.
As its title suggests, Spring Again is another dreaded mid-tempo, coffee-shop wisp of a song — the likes of which we’ve heard incessantly this season. In the context of Golden Child’s discography, it feels like the kind of boring late-album track you might be tempted to skip.
Though it may be faint praise, Spring Again still manages to be an above-average example of this below-average genre. Written by J. Yoon of MC The Max, the song perfectly captures the wistful tone it targets. Woollim Entertainment has always been good at filling their groups with a variety of vocal colors, and that diversity of sound works well here. The song shines welcome focus on the group’s underrated voices, jettisoning their usual youthful excitement for something more straightforward and calming. Gentle strings and repeated whistles buttress the instrumental and give it a slightly cinematic quality. Who knows… maybe it’ll even bring in some new fans? For me, though, Spring Again is little more than a forgettable diversion from an otherwise rock-solid discography.
Oh, well. I’ve already been patient for six months. I suppose I can wait a while longer to hear their music back at full capacity.