During what I shall now call “K-pop’s Bummer Summer of 2019,” Dongkiz’s BlockBuster was a welcome respite from the self-serious, downbeat r&b that seemed to clog the season. In hindsight, the song hasn’t held up quite as strongly as I would have thought, but it’s still an enjoyable bit of goofy fun. Then came the digital single Dreaming You, which turned down the novelty but kept the buoyant pop grooves. With new comeback Fever, Dongkiz continue to establish themselves as 2019’s go-to rookie group for bright, joyful energy.
Fever takes the group’s exuberant appeal to the next step of its natural progression — disco! Though the song substitutes chanting for an actual chorus, it’s fashioned around an addictive, high-tempo electro beat that remains consistently bouncy. I love the production’s splashes of rhythm guitar and swoops of synthesized strings, but the track is at its best when it reaches an exciting percussive break, re-igniting momentum even as we move into another segment.
The actual songwriting here is pretty minimal, relying on energy over substantive melody. The falsetto on the verses is a little too on the nose, and I caution Dongkiz not to lean too far into novelty. But then again, they did call their latest album Dongky Town, so I guess that ship has sailed. Either way, I really do wish they’d stop chanting their name so often in their songs. It’s endearing, but verges on grating after awhile. However, Fever’s verve is so contagious that it manages to paint over many of the track’s shortcomings. This isn’t pop music for the brain, and works best when you turn off your critical ear and just give over to the insanity.
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