Over the course of their four-year career, CLC have run the gamut of sounds and concepts. Recently, they’ve settled on an edgy, attitude-laced style that’s brought them international attention. But back in March of 2015, the girls debuted with the bright, addictive Pepe. Though that song is rarely mentioned in the CLC conversation nowadays, it remains one of my favorite tracks by the group.
Devil brings the girls back to similar melodic territory. The song itself is rather slight, but stands out thanks to its musical palette. Rather than borrow from 2019’s over-used elements, the track deposits CLC in retro territory, drawing from 50’s sounds like doo-wop and surf rock. The bass guitar that opens Devil lingers for practically the entire song, joined by hand claps and jangly synth. It’s an exciting brew — not because we’ve never heard it before, but because we haven’t heard it in awhile. Apart from the expected post-chorus trap breakdown, Devil rarely strays from its indelible groove. That kind of musical continuity is very welcome.
Even better, Devil hinges on a classic pop melody. Rap is relegated to that aforementioned trap breakdown, leaving plenty of space for the song to breathe. The sly pre-chorus is a nice surprise, building momentum without resorting to the kind of EDM tricks we’ve grown so accustomed to. This leads nicely into the strong chorus, which utilizes a brisk structure that draws on harmony to drive its swirling, instantly catchy hook. The girls sound great, and manage to harness their trademark sass within a lighter aesthetic. A Red Velvet-esque bridge amps things up a bit, though the song deserves a more memorable climax. If anything, Devil is too brief and too pleasant. A more ambitious touch would have pushed it up to “instant classic” territory. But even as is, CLC have delivered an irresistible pop confection.
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