Song Review: Busters – Paeonia

Despite releasing several singles, I’ve only featured girl group Busters on The Bias List once in 2019. I always get their name mixed up with Korean rock group Bursters, which falsely makes me think they’ve been more prolific than they have. Despite debuting back in 2017, the girls have only four (low budget) music videos to their name. And unfortunately, their music has grown more generic with time.

I’m happy to see that new single Paeonia (피오니아) doesn’t succumb to the omnipresent girl crush trend. In fact, at its best the song recalls early GFriend. That’s pretty big praise coming from me. Sadly, though, the entire track is undercut by unnecessary and ugly trap influences. Seriously, the trap beats in this song are so bad that I almost wondered if the hard drive on my computer was malfunctioning. I don’t understand the appeal of this grinding noise. It’s as if a small fragment of the audio dislodged and is now rattling around the instrumental like a rock in your shoe that pokes with every step. It adds no discernible purpose to the arrangement beyond extra, irritating noise.

After a decent verse and chorus, Paeonia (the genus of the flowering plant peony, in case you were wondering…) takes a nosedive for an awful second verse breakdown. Given the amount of times we’ve heard this structural approach in modern K-pop, it’s no surprise. But, it still infuriates me each and every time. Beyond this, I enjoy the girls’ vocals. They’re light and refreshing without being cutesy, and there are points at which Paeonia layers them well. The synth lines during the chorus also hold promise, even if they don’t end up amounting to much. But ultimately, the song succumbs to more missteps than highlights.

 Hooks 7
 Production 6
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6

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

8 thoughts on “Song Review: Busters – Paeonia

  1. As a hip hop/trap fan, i must say that the bass/808 on the 2nd verse seems terribly off pitch (And the percussion seems off tempo)


  2. The song is better than what I expected when I saw how cheap the MV was. Until the trap part, I was about to say that you could have put this in an IZ*ONE album and I would have definitely believed it… why do they have to ruin everything with these trap breaks ? I can’t name any k-pop song where this is a memorable part. And this one is particularly bad.
    Korea seem to love trap, as a hip-hop fan I tried so many times to listen to the trendy rappers and even there you can tell the lack of ambition with these uninspired trap beats. However, this is trap music so even if I find it far from being good, the song is coherent.
    K-pop ? Trap breaks are just there for the sake of having one. Why ? Nobody knows. I wish I can find an answer before the end of the year but I doubt I will ever find one.


  3. Now Nick, recently someone brought up the idea of scores being skewed. I replied that “Production” tends to rarely be scored below 6 ever.

    Let’s talk about this song. You think the trap beats are excessive. I think the voices are processed beyond recognition, and the whole thing sounds tinny. VIE comments above that they hear the second verse timing and pitch as being off.

    This might be a case to have <6 Production. Maybe a 4 (for me), or if you are feeling generous a 5. This is also a perfect example why songs overall rating <7 rarely appear on your list, because really what else can one say about it besides "low budget". Its just a waste of our time, and of their money.

    Basic-minus girl group kpop. There is no energy in this song. And it sounds tinny and over-processed. I don't know how someone will make the line distribution lyric video for this one – I don't think the girls lip synching in the video are actually the same ones performing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • And once again toxic comment. Do you even know who Busters are ?
      Basic-minus girl group kpop. ???
      Do you realize that you are talking about girls born 2003-2006 ?
      They are the youngest group of the entire Kpop industry.
      What did you expect ?
      For girls this young, it’s a perfectly fine song, and well made.
      Instead of encouraging them, you prefer to bash them.
      It’s really a shame.


      • .
        I believe my criticism is directed at the agency and the producers of this song.

        Excessive trap = the producer
        Voice processing, tinny, off beat and off pitch = producer and sound engineer
        Waste of time and money = the agency
        Basic-minus = the agency
        No energy = the songwriter, and agency for picking it
        Tinny, over processed = the producer

        Lip synching = it sounds like the producer and sound engineer left the guide track on the final version, doubled or tripled over the girls’ real voices. The timbre for all vocals sounds really really close. The video and the sound are off sync. On the music show live version, the live voice sung over the background is not the same. With all the lineup changes, it would not surprise me at all that the girls are now singing someone else’s recorded lines, or just over the guide line. In the video except for the solo close-ups, no one seems to be singing the lines – take for example 1:05 or 2:05-2:15. The tall girl seems to actually know the song.

        I have gone on at length in many other posts how there are some agencies who have no business being in this business. This is a good example. If these girls are that young, this agency is doing them no good, nor are their parents who signed them up for this. This way and this agency is not the way to break your kid into show biz.

        Liked by 8 people

        • I think there is a line between not liking a song and writing harsh comments about artists.
          Regarding your comment, it is true that Marbling.ent has received criticism for the management of the group; but never for the songs.
          These very young idols are doing songs for teenagers with positive message.
          And these girls can sing, they are not Milli Vanilli.
          It is ridiculous to insinuate that they are lip syncing over someone else voice. It would be a scandal in Korea.


  4. I saw a glimmer of hope in the line ‘early Gfriend’. Then the trap beats gave me a minor headache. After that had subsided, I remembered nothing about this song.

    I guess they’re just not for everybody. Their vocals seemed nice, if not processed enough to add to the headache, but they have potential. A pity it was wasted on this.


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