My reactions to DreamNote’s singles have been pretty polarized so far. I was not a fan of their self-referencing debut, but follow-up Hakuna Matata wormed its way into my top fifty tracks of 2019. New single Wish (바라다) falls somewhere in the middle, borrowing elements from both songs without pushing the group’s sound in any exciting directions.
Wish opens with the kind of synth-xylophone loop that has worked its way into so many recent K-pop tracks. To be honest, the first time through I just had to pause the song here and collect myself. Few instrumental samples make me as irrationally angry. Thankfully, this production flourish is buried within the mix as the track goes on. Instead, Wish presents another K-pop trope that does my head in. Its verses are delivered in the overly-perky sing-talk style that is a favorite among many new-gen girl groups. The next two tracks on DreamNote’s album prove that the group is more than capable of delivering a strong, unaffected vocal performance. I don’t know why they opt for this cartoony, cooing approach. It feels reductive, to both the song and the girls themselves.
Moving on, Wish segues into its best series of moments – the percussive pre-chorus and sharp, assured chorus. The vocal performance becomes more robust (minus some aegyo asides) and the tempo finally catches fire. Frustratingly, this goodwill is (surprise, surprise!) sabotaged by a half-time, trap-infused breakdown. Is this just a part of the K-pop formula now? It’s so frustrating to be able to predict the exact pitfalls a new single will succumb to. And in Wish’s case, there just aren’t enough strong elements to counter the many qualms I have with the track.
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