K-pop’s summer is starting late this year, as idol groups are finally remembering that it’s time for those high-energy blasts of sunny pop music. Oh My Girl offered their bid last week, but Weki Meki have done them one better with Tiki-Taka (99%). This is easily the best girl group summer track since Cosmic Girls got the season started way back at the start of June.
Thus far in their career, Weki Meki have built their sound on a “teen crush” concept that often played around with style and structure. Tiki-Taka is their most straightforward single yet, but it’s all the stronger for it. There’s a laser-beam focus here, centered around a big, pulsing pop hook. The song’s instrumental borrows heavily from tropical elements, but tethers them to a high-tempo beat that pulls as much from disco and synthpop as it does from today’s trends. Its verses are largely disposable, but get the job done without unnecessary aegyo thrown over the top.
The real story with Tiki-Taka is its chorus, which offers a robust, two-part hook underlined by propulsive production. The vocal layering works well here, and recalls second generation groups like Kara. I love the contrast between the main chorus and the rhythmic, post-chorus hook that follows. You’ve got this sweeping, anthemic refrain that acts as the song’s centerpiece, but instead of capping it off with an instrumental drop or trap breakdown, Tiki-Taka delivers a sticky vocal riff that chews on the song’s tongue-twister of a title. This is the kind of full-fledged song-craft that I like to hear in K-pop. Time will tell if this track will be able to hang with the industry’s summer classics of years past, but it’s undoubtedly Weki Meki’s strongest work yet.
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