With a title like “Dumb Litty,” the only feeling I could muster around the lead-up to KARD’s new single was morbid curiosity. How bad would it actually be? Yeah, I pre-judged this thing pretty hard. But, the group is coming off the swaggy noise attack of Bomb Bomb, one of the year’s most obnoxious title tracks. Dumb Litty brings KARD’s production into member BM’s hands, which didn’t fill me with much hope. As charismatic as the guy is onstage, he’s yet to show any musical goals beyond getting “lit.”
I like a good hype song. Or, should I say… I like a good song that hypes me up. There’s a key difference here, and one that modern pop music too often forgets. Hype for hype’s sake is just a bunch of people shouting at you with the volume loud enough to make you forget there’s no actual song attached to the bombast. Dumb Litty is certainly loud, but that’s about all the song’s got. It’s a hollow thunderclap of meme-able moments for fans to fawn over. I predict that most positive reactions will focus on the members themselves. J.Seph slayed me! Oh my god, Jiwoo! Queen!
This is fine. So much of K-pop thrives on performance and idol worship. But for me, all that charisma is simply the icing on the cake. And in Dumb Litty’s case, that icing is drizzled over a monotonous clatter trap designed to pummel the listener into submission. The EDM synths are turned up to eleven, the trap beats are relentless and the chorus essentially boils down to “dumb dumb dumb dumb, bang that drum… something something… stupid!” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but there really isn’t much meat on these bones. A brief glimmer of hope occurs during the pre-chorus, when the percussion takes a more complex turn and we get a momentary respite from all the gruff bellowing. But overall, this is “hype” by the numbers, devoid of imagination or charm.