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Song Reviews: Ranking Queendom’s Final Comebacks

Queendom has become one of K-pop’s most pleasant surprises this year. Its conceit — five girl groups (and one soloist) competing for performance-based dominance — was shockingly good-natured in reality, allowing each act to showcase their charms without the kind of needless drama these series usually thrive on. In fact, I’d be just as happy if Queendom ditched the competition aspect entirely.

Even before it premiered, the show was pitched as the “battle of the comebacks,” where each participant would release a new single on the same day and compete for chart dominance. On paper, this idea seemed ridiculously exciting. Would we really get six new comebacks in one day?

Not really. The six songs arrived two days ago without much fanfare. As enjoyable as the series itself has been, this final push feels a little underwhelming. No promotion, no music videos and — quite frankly — music that sounds more like glorified b-sides than actual comebacks.

But, I’m still here to rank them, because that’s what I do! To be clear, this ranking is based entirely off the song itself, not my feelings about the actual group. If I were to rank each act’s full discography, my list would look something like:

Lovelyz > Oh My Girl > AOA > Mamamoo > (G)I-DLE > Park Bom (solo work only).


6. Park Bom – Wanna Go Back

Honestly, Park Bom was set up for failure from the very first episode. It just doesn’t seem fair to have a soloist compete with groups. Still, Queendom has been a great showcase for her always-endearing personality. And, it’s nice to have a veteran artist in the mix.

Sadly, Wanna Go Back is not Bom’s best work. Its general sound echoes her previous 2019 solo tracks, but not much about this track feels memorable. The production is too plodding and the melody does little to pull it from its murk. While not for everyone, Bom’s idiosyncratic vocals carry the day. I just wish they were attached to a more interesting song.


5. Lovelyz – Moonlight

Lovelyz seemed to learn a valuable lesson throughout Queendom: don’t try to be something you’re not. With this in mind, Moonlight is kind of baffling. It sounds nothing like a Lovelyz song. But rather than go totally left-field, Moonlight opts for the kind of generic tropical vibe that’s cluttered international charts for too long. I’m not sure what the point is here. The production already feels dated and the melody isn’t anything special. What a waste!

Slightly off-topic, but between this, Rocket Punch’s debut and the W Project 4, Woollim Entertainment hasn’t delivered anything remotely original since May. I’m a little worried. My favorite K-pop agency simply can’t be going generic! I’d have to revolt.


4. Mamamoo – Destiny

I love the bluesy opening to this track. Mamamoo spent most of Queendom simply skirting through the various performance rounds. Their popularity and talent easily carried them, but it didn’t feel like they ever really challenged themselves. Destiny’s unconventional structure is the ballsiest thing they’ve done throughout the series, and does a good job showcasing their different performance styles.

However, Destiny comes across as a series of high and low points. I’m not sure that all the different tempo and stylistic shifts come together to make a satisfying whole, even if they’re pretty impressive on their own. It’s the kind of song I can appreciate, but not necessarily love. Still, they get points for thinking outside of the box.


3. AOA – Sorry

This is really different for the girls. I like the general vibe, even if its trendy elements aren’t what I look for when it comes to AOA releases. The synthpop chorus is Sorry’s strongest moment, pulsing with a catchy melody that honestly should’ve been tethered to a more retro song. The verses spend a little too much time absorbed in their own moodiness, and I wish the track jettisoned all of its trap elements, but overall this is a success.

On a broader note, I’ve really fallen in love with AOA through Queendom. I’ve always enjoyed their music, but didn’t know much about them as people. Their self-deprecating humor is very charming.


2. (G)I-DLE – Lion

If I’m going to be really biased, (G)I-DLE is probably the only group I’ve ended up liking less throughout their stint on Queendom. Something about their group dynamic just rubs me the wrong way. It seems very top heavy, if that makes sense. Maybe I just need to watch more of their variety that doesn’t involve competition so I can get a better sense of their individual personalities.

Anyway, Lion is probably the best (G)I-DLE track since 2018’s Hann. Sometimes it feels like the group tries too hard to be edgy without focusing on the song itself, but Lion harnesses their strengths and fuses them to a catchy melody. I love the percussive arrangement and the fierce energy. The structure is more streamlined than I would’ve expected, though I’m not sure how Lion’s repetitive refrain is going to age. I could see it tiring quickly.


1. Oh My Girl – Guerilla

Oh My Girl have played things incredibly smart during Queendom, and will likely go down as the series’ biggest winners even if they don’t actually take the crown on the final episode. So, it’s no surprise that their song is also the strongest of the six.

Rather than use this platform to experiment with something new, Guerilla enlists longtime collaborators to produce a song that fits right within Oh My Girl’s wheelhouse. It comes across as a lighter, more upbeat companion to their own The Fifth Season, bringing in orchestral elements for its standout chorus. Of all six singles, Guerilla feels the most like it could actually be promoted and compete with full-fledged comebacks of other artists. It’s not close to Oh My Girl’s best, but it’s far and away the strongest song to come from Queendom’s finale.

16 thoughts on “Song Reviews: Ranking Queendom’s Final Comebacks

  1. Yeah, I was also really underwhelmed by all of these. “Guerrilla” was clearly the best one but the others felt really phoned in, you could rank them in any order and I wouldn’t argue. It’s weird to see what’s otherwise been an entertaining show fizzle out in the last round like this, they knew from the start that they needed these songs so you’d think that they would have put some more effort into them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel that (G)-Idle should win this competition as they gave in every single thing they could, they’re song is perfection and I don’t think any else’s song could beat them. Nevertheless, i respect the 5 other groups hard work and they tried their very best, I’m not being biased here, just my opinion. And also I think that this competition really let these 6 groups unleash their potential and that’s what I’m very thankful for. Hwaiting!

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  2. TL;DR:

    My order (lowest to highest): Park Bom > mamamoo > AOA > Lovelyz > (G)I-DLE > OMG

    FUN DISTRACTION:

    Here’s a way to exhaust a little creative thinking. Try to imagine each song shifting from the group that originally sings it to a different group as follows:
    Lovelyz -> “Moonlight” -> AOA
    AOA -> “Sorry” -> OH MY GIRL
    OH MY GIRL -> “Guerilla” -> mamamoo
    mamamoo -> “Destiny” -> (G)I-DLE
    (G)I-DLE -> “Lion” -> Park Bom
    Park Bom -> “Wanna Go Back” -> Lovelyz

    STAY FOR A CUP OF COFFEE:

    Park Bom’s strength is her vocal uniqueness; which is also her weakness. She needs to stop trying to hit power notes because that’s where she falters. I use to think her finest work was in 2NE1’s “It Hurts”, until BOM&HI “All I want for Christmas Is You” dropped. I was amazed how well she meshed with Lee Hi on that release. In both of those songs, Bom stayed more grounded. When she self-restrains, she hits it out of the park.

    Lovelyz are like GFRIEND. Their roots are firmly planted in the “cute & bright” patch of the garden, but they try to send out vines to cover other areas. To me, these offshoots only meet middling success and I see them as pleasant curiosities rather than proof of genuine diversity. I’m not saying I don’t want them to experiment. I just think everything they’ve attempted, thus far, seems to be in directions they “wanted” to go, rather than directions they “should” have gone based on strengths and limitations.

    mamamoo have earned their place in the industry. RBW hit the jackpot in that build. All four of them are very talented, though I’ve always believed Moonbyul was a bit of an odd fit. I know I’m probably alone in thinking that. When I think of female rappers, I lean more towards CL, Soyeon, Yeeun, Jia, Yezi, Kisum, LE, etc.. All of these girls rap like it’s who they are, not who they’re told to be. Moonbyul has admitted she was told she was the rapper; she never chose to be one.

    AOA will always have a spot in my library. I understand why they shifted to the sexy concept and it payed out for them; unlike the partial success of other attempted switches by HELLOVENUS, Stellar, Fiestar, etc.. However, when Choa left, I felt sexy wasn’t going to be enough. Bingle Bangle was 25% “Oh, hey, it’s AOA” and 75% “Ugh!” for me. I wasn’t sure what was needed to keep them afloat until they covered “Egotistic” and then it become clarion. Less stripper pole, more sultry lounge singer. A little bit of sass, brass, and ass without the crass (if you pardon the vernacular).

    (G)I-DLE is a bit of a phenom, but one with a big Damoclean sword hanging over it. I don’t know if Soyeon truly has the universal freedom that is being purported. I don’t know if for every “eureka” clip we see of her brainstorming sessions, there are many “you can’t do that” or “that’s stupid” clips on the editing room floor. Either way, the group has managed to be a bit more exploratory than other groups. But I get this eerie vibe with them. A weird.. ..it all balances on the head of a pin feeling with regard to their continued success. I don’t know why that is.

    OH MY GIRL is OMG. When other groups release great songs, I get really excited for them. For example, when WJSN released “Secret”, I applauded loudly because it was something I didn’t know they were capable of. Another example would be IZ*ONE’s “Violeta” or Stellar’s “Vibrato”. When OH MY GIRL releases a good song, I almost take them for granted. I have a “well, of course it’s good, it’s OMG!” sentiment. I need to meter that more than I do because they deserve proper praise. They managed to surprise me when they released “Knock, Knock”. I still perk up when that cycles in my playlist.

    Free refills!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am always mentally song shifting. Some of those would be very interesting challenges. G-idle with “Destiny” in particular because they are so rapper and timbre heavy it would be interesting to see if they could pull it off. imho that song only works because Mamamoo have enough vocal chops to pull it off vocally, singing each line as if it is the most important thing in life, this is it, this is my one line, I am going to SING it like I mean it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Disagree on your opinion of who has the best discog, mine would be:
    AOA > Oh My Girl > Mamamoo > Lovelyz > Park Bom > (G)I-DLE

    I do agree OMG has the best final track, but as a performance im not sure it will win against what some consider more ‘girl crush/hype’ tracks from some of the other performers.

    So far for streaming omg is 2nd behind mamamoo which is actually pretty impressive consideriing they have the smallest fanbase among the contestants on the show (Aside from bom, but she’s a soloist so it doesnt count)

    Overall, i think OMG are the clear deserved winners.

    But for whatever reason i cant help thinking that they’ll place 3rd, i guess it depends on the audience on the night and whether their fandom can continue competing with the larger fanbases of mamamoo and gidle.

    It will be kind of sad if they lose due to fandom size, that should’nt even be a criteria on what is essentially a talent show, but it is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the fandom thing really sticks it in and breaks it off, doesn’t it. It can’t be that rewarding for mamamoo to know that at least one of their victories (and I’m being kind) was due to fan-base size, rather than the merits of the performance itself. I’m not saying mamamoo isn’t praiseworthy, but there’s a lot of talent on that show and the laurels aren’t being passed out judiciously.

      Some may argue that the industry doesn’t need to be modeled as a meritocracy because it’s a business. Fairness and business are antithetical. Still, when a show bills itself as talent-based when it really boils down to fan-based, or a survival show presents itself as a idol competition and the results are predetermined, then you have to take a step back to determine if the puppeteer’s strings are really attached to you; or not, depending on your guile.

      That’s showbiz, folks!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think Mamamoo were really in it to win it. At this point in their career, they really had nothing to lose even by just phoning in the performances. They seemed tired and halfhearted about it at best. Their Decalcomanie stage on Queendom was nothing near the quality they put out during their promotional cycle for the song, let alone year end stages. They were clearly brought in to be the “big name” contestants, as Mamamoo is very well known to the general public while most other groups are still in idol group fan territory (except, perhaps, for the obvious image rehabs for AOA and Bom). It’s a good thing Mamamoo are talented enough to do well even while coasting, but if you know the group, you definitely expect more from them.

        I love the whole concept of this show. Unfortunately (for me), rumor has it that the next season will be a Kingdom with boy groups, which I can’t see being as interesting, since boy groups tend to do more diverse concepts and songs than girl groups already. I’d love to see a co-ed season though. We hardly ever see boy and girl groups interacting or covering each other’s songs anymore compared to 2nd gen. I’d also be happy if they got rid of the contest portion of it or, probably the best option, if the placement was done by a panel of industry veterans instead.

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        • And if a 3rd generation covers someone else’s song, these days it is likely as not to be a 2nd generation classic song – Sorry Sorry or Mirotic or something,

          Liked by 1 person

        • Keep in mind that the recordings were done right after big events (KCONLA, Hong Kong and Daegu concerts). Solar practically passed out in the waiting room just after sitting, Wheein was suffering from anxiety, Hwasa did not sleep at all before recording ep. 5. I don’t think they’re being halfhearted because they’re big now, but their schedule is so tight and they’re physically exhausted. They don’t show that onstage though.

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  4. .

    My personal ranking of these songs G-idle > Mamamoo > the rest.

    I put G-idle first because the song is the most single promotion worthy, even if it sounds like “Hann – Lion King audition version”. Add points for matching the theme of the whole show.

    Mamamoo – there are many things I like and dislike about this song. (Does no one at RBW know that it is pronounced DES-tiny and not desTINNy). The vocal performance is good so I put it in second.

    The rest sound too much like ordinary discography, b-side and/or contemporary sounds I have come to loathe.

    Then there is Bom. She was the first performances I watched – the Hann and You and I. I came to the realization that she is lip syncing most or all of the performance. (Later after watching the others it was clear that everyone had a backing vocal track as with the weekly music shows.) Now, if one is lip syncing most or all of the song, and not dancing or even moving much at all around the stage, then what is this performance really about? Posing? Well, the stylist should get all the accolades because Bom looked great in every outfit standing there on stage.

    And for the finale she butchers “Eye Nose Lips”, confusing staccato for legato. When the important high phrase in the chorus that relieves all that tension comes around, she can’t hit it and all that is heard – even on the backing track – is the sound of the backup singers hitting those notes for her.

    While I am at it: Mnet. The show succeeded despite Mnet. Somehow this show wound up being about sisterhood not fanwars – maybe it was all the back stage fangirling by the groups with their peers. But I could barely find Queendom performances on youtube, and I was actively searching. I wound up having to use my computer and edit the korean hashtags on the search bars to find most – I don’t think that even looking hard I found all . When the final songs come out it is – what is this – a static album cover pic by an independent youtuber? Does Mnet not have an official release?

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  5. Well, in my opinion all the songs were great. I don’t think Lovelyz song is dated,I find it a good thing that they tried something different. I do find Bom’s song memorable and I believe Mamamoo has outdone themselves again. No offense, tho,I respect everyone’s opinion. My ranking would be this:
    1- Mamamoo, because this song is amazing and probably one of their best songs till now;
    2- Bom,because her song is full of emotion and her vocals are superb;
    3-Oh My Girl, it’s such an interesting song and it’s a mood;
    4- AOA, Lovelyz and G-idle, because I think I like all of them all the same?

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  6. Yeah you definitely hit it for me about g-idle. It seemed top heavy, the leader would give an idea and everyone would agree. Granted, she’s made all the songs so far so maybe the others don’t feel comfortable making suggestions.

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  7. Yep, the songs generally feels like B-sides more than anything which…..is very much expected. They’re not gonna use a legit title track for some competition show.

    My ranks would be: OMG > (G)IDLE > Mamamoo > AOA > Lovelyz > Park Bom

    The anthemic high note in guerilla chorus is to die for

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