Though they haven’t made a comeback since last summer, the spirit of ITZY looms large over recent girl group songs. The industry seems intent on harnessing their boisterous formula wherever it can, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But not every group shares their effortless charisma, and it can be hard to pull off this style of track. Woollim Entertainment’s Rocket Punch could do with a dose of personality, as their August debut was as generic as it gets. Though Bouncy has its problems, at the very least it’s a much more memorable song than Bim Bam Bum.
Composed by the promising Code 9 team, Bouncy wastes no time unfurling its rambunctious energy. The bratty chant that opens the track will let you know what you’re in for, and whether or not you should keep listening. The following verse is powered by the same kind of catwalk-ready thump that made last year’s Dalla Dalla so addictive, and leads toward a satisfying build. Then we hit the chorus, and it’s pretty fantastic. Bouncy goes full-on synth-disco here, doubling the tempo as a crisp pop melody takes hold. It’s a refreshingly old-school refrain, marred only by its unnecessary busyness.
I don’t say this often when it comes to K-pop, but Bouncy’s issues have nothing to do with the song itself. It’s all about the execution. The vocals on this are… not great. That shocks me coming from Woollim Entertainment, who has always had an excellent track record in this regard. With Bouncy, Rocket Punch are fighting against the tide. The arrangement is overstuffed with shouts and cloying ad-libs, twisting their voices into cartoon-like personas that do them no favors. What a perfect song this would have been without over-caffeinated cheerleader chants and aegyo asides! I guess this is what passes for “personality” these days in K-pop. It’s a testament to the strength of Bouncy’s megawatt chorus that it works as well as it does.
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