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.
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