Review

Song Review: Apink – Dumhdurum

Over the past few years, Apink have enjoyed a K-pop resurgence, pairing with producers Black Eyed Pilseung for a newly matured sound that has connected with a lot of listeners. Though I wasn’t as sold on last year’s %% as every other K-pop fan seemed to be, I can appreciate the group’s transformation. In addition to following the alliterative song title trend of 2020, new single Dumhdurum (덤더럼) continues this promising maturation of the Apink sound.

Right away, it’s so refreshing to hear a girl group sing in a manner that doesn’t resort to chirpy charm appeals. At this stage in their career, it makes sense that Apink would opt for a more sophisticated performance style, and this approach helps Dumhdurum stand out. The girls offer a wispy, restrained delivery that fits with the track’s airy appeal. Dumhdurum opens with a catchy synth loop that becomes the driving force of its instrumental in a similar way to 2018’s I’m So Sick. The production isn’t as effortlessly catchy this time around, but the textures are very satisfying.

Unlike so many recent K-pop singles, Dumhdurum never rushes to get to the next beat drop or trap interlude. It unveils organically, without the kind of sonic roadblocks that would usually stall momentum. This kind of arrangement might seem quaint to some listeners, but it gives the track a sturdy through-line that will likely benefit it in the long run. With that said, I wish the melody hit just a bit harder. The track maintains its breezy cool with an effortless charm, but its chorus could do with a more impactful hook. It hinges so strongly on the central synth loop, without elevating the song to a new level. Still, Dumhdurum’s addictive vibe is enough to make it a spring standout. Time will tell whether it’ll go on to eclipse I’m So Sick as Apink’s definitive late-career highlight.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

31 thoughts on “Song Review: Apink – Dumhdurum

    • Or that the rest of the song and production (basically arrangements?) don’t fit the hook well enough. Anyway I don’t see an 8 hook in this song

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          • Ah, and here I thought you were thinking the opposite way! For me, the 8 is mostly for that synth loop that — while it may be repeated often — feels very satisfying.

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          • Nah, you’ll be back here before you know it. There’s no other kpop review site that does it this eloquently and professionally. I’ve read other sites… Let’s just say I’ve been spoilt by the best…

            Maybe Kpopaplyse, idk maybe you’ll take a liking to the author’s abrasive and brash attitude.

            And mind how I ask how Nick’s reviews are getting worse and worse? Constructive feedback is always welcome! Unless of course, it’s just a simple matter of differing opinions and musical tastes

            Liked by 4 people

            • There’s this other k-pop review site that I do enjoy, not for the quality, but for the quantity. He or she reviews every single track and album that comes out. In addition the music videos and choreos are given a score. Though I’d like to say that this person’s reviews aren’t as fun to read as Nick’s and this guy gives out free 9/10’s. His reviews are good for most k-pop fans because his rating system ensures that nobody’s feelings get hurt.
              Here’s his link: https://kpopreviewed.wordpress.com/

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              • Also his end of the year lists suck and he doesn’t make a best songs of the month list or put out any other special posts.

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  1. what I love about Apink’s recent releases is how they are both complex and immediate. The last two follow a very similar structure and utilize the strength of their hooks to maximum effect. “Eung Eung” is so atmospheric and catchy at the same time that it proves to be very addicting. It uses melody incredibly well with interpolations of descending percussion lines throughout and an instantly memorable post-chorus tagline. I don’t think “Dumhdurum” is quite as effective, but it’s obvious BEP have found what works best for this structure. The way the hook is dispersed throughout the song and how the singing slinks around the beat in the verses is very similar to that of “Eung Eung.” “Dumhdurum” definitely relies a lot more on the disco-lite drop at its center, but never succumbs to a wordless beat drop chorus. Even though it becomes predictable at times, there’re still enough quirks and interesting touches throughout to maintain interest. It’s easy listening, but not lazy producing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just adore these last 3 Apink singles. My favorite would have to be %%, but I think Duhmdurum finds a great middle ground between the heavy hooks of I’m So Sick and the more delicate atmosphere of %%.

    My only complaint about Apink’s last years is that the album tracks don’t show the same growth/ambition as the title songs, but otherwise (aesthetics, production, the voices…) I think they’re really doing THAT.

    PS: I’m in love with those Black Eyed Pilseung percolating synths. Fancy, Chungha’s Gotta Go…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Uncomplicated fun. This song is easy to like, hard to hate. I like the disco lite beat, which also happens to be Nick’s gig so I can see how he graded that part high. I might have put it half a tick less – for me the song is in the low 8’s – but that is a close enough ballpark. Sonically to me it sounds like the next evolution from “I’m so sick” from 2018. I didn’t care much for %% either, it was just ok.

    Yes, I agree that the song in other hands could have become a drop chorus, but thankfully the group and agency are old enough to not follow all the contemporary cliches, because they don’t have anything to prove.

    Let us all also appreciate that at 9 years and counting, Apink is just about the oldest girl group still promoting good songs on a consistent basis.

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    • I’m honestly relieved to see that %% didn’t fully click with you either. It feels almost sacrilegious to call it anything less but perfection. From what I’ve seen and heard online, EVERYONE seems to love it, with many declaring it their song of 2019. I keep wondering what it is I’m missing…

      I much preferred I’m So Sick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here! %% lacked a little bit of punch to me. I enjoy the melody of the chorus and it’s certainly a well-made song, but there are definitely better Apink tracks out there.

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      • But yknow that’s Kpop fandom for you. The voices of the ones that love it always seems to be the loudest.

        Ur not alone, %% is ok, but I adored I’m So Sick.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I really thought I was the only one who thought %% wasn’t as great as I’m so sick! While still liked %%, it only made the honourable mentions of my top 50 of 2019 whereas I’m so sick easily blitzed its way into my top 20 favourite songs of 2018.

        Dumhdurum on the other hand is brilliant and might just be my favourite of the three

        Liked by 1 person

      • For me, “%%” is fundamentally is about the sheer level of instrumental detail and the great care taken in the interplay between rhythm, instrumental melody and vocal melody. It’s not really about a big hook like “I’m So Sick” was, and I feel it’s best appreciated specifically listening for the melodic movement in the details, which carries a great deal of heft in its own way. At least that’s what made it click for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely agree that this sophisticated turn suits them nicely and LOVE the track. Even better this earned them an all-kill so it might indeed be a great late career highlight for them

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  5. This song is Apink’s first #1 on Melon in five years! I’m honestly so happy for the girls, totally deserve. And this song is such a VIBE with such solid melodic and harmonic content, I think it’s better than I’m so sick, which was too tropical for my tastes, and might even surpass %%, which was perfect in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apink has probably never been one of my favorite girl groups but I have always liked them. I think Eung Eung is better and I love the song , this just reminds me of Kard-Bomb Bomb but this time with a feeling (that is kinda a compliment , half insult half compliment) The song offerred us good hooks ( I think ) it lacked in Thrill ( a lot) I don’t really enjoy it and I guess it just doesn’t remind me of what Apink could offer us.

    Overall my score is:
    Hooks: 9
    Production: 8
    Thrill: 7
    Bias: 8
    Overall rating: 8

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  7. I never quite got around to dropping my take on “%%” in your comments section (know I do love it dearly), and it looks like I’ll have to disagree with you again here! I mean, this is absolutely gorgeous. Though some nothingy melodies after the first chorus and during the bridges sort of slow the momentum down, I can’t help but admire the end result. Part of what makes “I”m So Sick” and, to a greater extent, “%%” so successful in my book is the way that the backing vocals effortlessly dominate the main chorus melodies, in a songwriting trick that cleverly allows the instrumental to have significant breathing room without leading to excessive synth-loop fatigue. The result is that the details in both songs are brought to the forefront, and we all get to admire how good k-pop production has gotten in the past few years. This one is certainly more conventional in its structure and suffers a little bit as a result, but it certainly has a similarly beautiful instrumental and a chorus full of witty little articulations that I find kind of delightful. Anyways, this was certainly the right song to click on after months of all but ignoring k-pop, my gosh!

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  8. This is a perfectly fine song.. ..and I’m getting really tired of that being my default sentiment when commenting here.

    Too curt?

    I love Apink. Have since they debuted. I often comment on a group having a plateau song. That one song that sits at the top of their back catalog. For me, Apink is the only K-pop group that plateaued with their debut song, “I Don’t Know”.

    That’s not to say that their other offerings haven’t delighted me. “NoNoNo”, “Hush”, “Mr. Chu”, “My My”, “LUV”, “I’m So Sick”, et al, were all great songs, but, at least with Apink, you never forget your first. “I Don’t Know” was a near perfect K-pop song for me. Funny thing is, I remember rolling my eyes on a first listen and thinking to myself, “Man, could you slather on the thick cutesy theme even more?”. But after repeated listens, it imprinted on me in a way few songs have.

    “Dumhdurum” will probably enter my music library, but I can’t see it entering my “Top K-pop” playlist. It’ll be in my “Apink” playlist. It’ll be in my “K-all” playlist. It just won’t be in the list I listen to regularly.

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  9. I liked it on first listen but I still had mixed feelings about it. In just a few listens it hooked me up though I love the synth line and a chorus that wasn’t particularly catchy at first listen suddenly became amazingly catchy. I really like it as of now.

    I also really like the soundscape of the album but I find most of the songs to be hookless and somewhat boring, unfortunately.

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  10. I feel like this is a good mix of their new mature style and their older innocent, bubbly style, at least visually. However I’m not sure and I might be wrong because it’s still more sophisticated and confident than their older releases, and the only similarity might be the spring theme. My problem with the song is that the chorus/hook is still pretty lackluster after a couple listens, otherwise I like it. The second verse is probably my favorite part.

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  11. Best song this year by far.

    No wonder it toped the charts for so long.

    There’s only one group who deserves to have “Pink” in it’s name, and it’s not BlackPink 😛

    Like

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