When it comes to sound and style, Nature have been on a roller coaster. As an under-the-radar rookie, they’re making a lot of the right moves, even if it doesn’t always result in the right songs. What I mean by this is that they’re taking chances. Whatever you might think of them, title tracks like Allegro Cantabile and Oopsie (My Bad) have a personality and energy all their own. New single Girls (어린애) brings the group down another new road – this time more sleek and sophisticated.
Up until the first chorus, I was convinced that Girls was going to be the second-gen style girl group track I’ve been craving. Nature sing in a straight, unaffected manner and the instrumental has continuity and a sense of satisfying build. And really, taking everything into account, Girls isn’t half bad. But, it makes several bad choices.
The first of these involves the chorus – or rather, the lack thereof. Girls goes completely inert when it’s time for its hook to hit. The group offers some halfhearted coos, but this all-important segment is given over completely to a wispy instrumental loop. It’s hard to meaningfully critique an instrumental loop. I mean, it feels like they just snatched it from a sample pack and said “that’ll do.” I can’t overstate the importance of a good chorus, and I’m continually disappointed to see it sacrificed in this generation of K-pop.
Girls’ second dubious choice occurs exactly where K-pop fans would expect it to: the second verse. Yep, we get the awful, half-time trap-rap breakdown. I think about 90% of 2020’s title tracks have matched this same structure. It’s no longer a surprise. It’s a hindrance. And, Girls’ third mistake actually happens in tandem with this approach, involving some “hot like chili, chili” lyrical nonsense that’s better to simply forget. But hey… how about that opening verse?! Just make that into an entire song next time, Nature.
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