Pepsi certainly has some sway over the K-pop market, don’t they? Last month, they gave Ong Seungwoo a solo (semi) debut with the Energetic rip-off Heart Sign, and now they’ve gathered two popular idols from different agencies for a performance-focused duet. Cool Love brings together Hongbin from VIXX and Hyungwon from Monsta X. Neither idols have had much solo focus when it comes to music, so their pairing is definitely a welcome one.
Cool Love, on the other hand, is too all-over-the-place to work as anything but a performance showcase. The song opens with its worst moment, a languid piece of melodic mush that echoes too many underwhelming boy group tracks of the past few years. Things improve as the track’s gritty beat drops, heralded by distorted synth that gives the instrumental a slightly sleazy appeal. The initial verse capitalizes on this production, offering a funky, laid-back melody that rides the rhythm with sly confidence.
Like so many K-pop tracks of our era, Cool Love’s hook opts for a spoken repetition rather than a fleshed-out chorus. As usual, this is a missed opportunity — especially given the talent involved and the instrumental’s groovy potential. While needlessly spare, this segment gets by on charisma. Unfortunately, the rest of the track takes too many forgettable diversions for its own good. The post-hook instrumental drop is completely unnecessary and interrupts the flow before we jump into verse two. Worse yet is the energy-killing return to the song’s intro that precedes the second (and final) chorus. Cool Love‘s vibe is often engaging, but it would have been better served by a more streamlined approach. However, the song is first and foremost a Pepsi CF, meaning only a few seconds will likely be played on the advertisements anyway. For that purpose, Cool Love meets its modest goals.