After their incredible 2018 success, Momoland are in the process of navigating the tricky business of follow-ups. Their name is known throughout Asia, and they’ve attempted to capitalize on that by recording material aimed at different regions. When it comes to Japan, they’ve already exhausted their most notable Korean output, recording versions of Bboom Bboom and BAAM for the J-pop market. Pinky Love marks their first original Japanese single, and it does little to advance their sound.
Pinky Love’s first few seconds are promising, bursting forth with big, synth-fueled production reminiscent of Twice’s Likey. Sadly, this potential is not capitalized on, as the girls’ vocals are pitched unbelievably high for an affected performance that grates right from the start. Now, Momoland’s success was never based upon their ability to belt out a big power note, but Pinky Love’s cheerleaders-on-helium delivery has no grit or texture to it. Add a generous dose of infantile chants and the song becomes nearly unbearable.
Unlike their propulsive, Shinsadong Tiger-produced Korean hits, Pinky Love sees the girls trying too hard to replicate the success that Twice has seen in Japan. This feels very much like a bargain basement Twice track, but without the unique star power that those girls can bring. Momoland are quite capable of unleashing their own goofy brand of charisma, but Pinky’s lightweight, sing-song hooks don’t give them a chance. Coming off the heels of March’s lackluster I’m So Hot, it’s becoming clear that Momoland are in search of another big hit that just isn’t materializing. I’m pulling for them, but reductive songs like this aren’t going to sustain a lasting career.
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