Girl group Laboum were at their commercial and musical peak from 2015-2017, book-ended by the pop brilliance of singles Aalow Aalow and Hwi Hwi. There must be something lucky about repetitive, onomatopoeia titles. Since that point, a newly-matured sound has brought the group a niche fan base, but the girls have struggled to cement their place in the K-pop industry. Regardless, new single Firework marks a big achievement for Laboum. The song is taken from their first full album — an unfortunately rare format when it comes to girl groups.
Though the song does an admirable job showing off the girls’ voices, it’s too subdued to make much of a mark. Firework’s verses are downright sluggish, driven by a rhythmic acoustic guitar loop and spare percussion. Laboum sound very much like Mamamoo here, so similar at points that it would be easy to confuse the two groups. In a way, this is an enviable comparison, but it also makes it difficult for the girls to harness their own musical colors.
Firework’s chorus is easily its strongest moment, climaxing in an unexpected burst of falsetto. Tethered to a more interesting arrangement, I could imagine this being a big standout for Laboum. But other than that palette-cleansing high note (and some equally acrobatic ad-libs toward Firework’s conclusion), the song just doesn’t modulate enough. The same production that kicks off the instrumental stays relatively unchanged throughout its three-and-a-half minute running time. This almost feels like an “acoustic version” of a larger, more memorable pop track. Stripping things back may be a good way to focus on the girls’ unadorned talents, but the approach doesn’t make for a very exciting or noteworthy comeback.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!
this song is absolutely awful IMO
I am not usually a girl group stan, so I can’t figure out why someone would pick this group over others in the same niche, or vice versa.
I expected more from them based off of their older output. The album also had more skips than I hoped, it starts and ends slow but the middle has some good stuff in it. There were definitely some songs that would have been better singles than this (like the literal title track) and it’s always frustrating when they go with the “radio friendly” choice over the more interesting cuts that could actually make an impression.
Overall, I find the album to be both faceless and lifeless, which is shocking when considering the strength of their pre-2018 material. It just goes to show how important a songwriter/producer is to a group’s sound.
The Mamamoo comparison is apt – when I was listening to this song, I couldn’t stop thinking about “gogobebe.” And, while the keys are different and I would not say that they copied “gogobebe” in any concrete way, the pacing/structure of the underlying music is SO similar in parts. “Between Us” and the b-side from that album (“Love Game”) were two of my favorite songs from 2017, but I’m starting to lose interest in Laboum’s output again. This full album just didn’t hook me in any concrete way and I find myself skipping most of the tracks.