Somebody’s been listening to too much BLACKPINK.
Honestly, I have a very low tolerance level for this specific kind of “badass” girl group track. “I’m so bad… look at me! Bla bla bla… twiddle diddle dum. I’m crazy and I ain’t sorry! Don’t you wish you could be like me? Dum dum diddle dum.” It’s meant to come across as empowering, but too often it’s tethered to a throwaway skeleton of a song. One of the first rules of writing is “show, don’t tell.” I think this applies to K-pop as well. If you have to keep telling me how badass you are, are you really that badass? I think not.
Anyway, Villain (빌런) is a pre-release single from rookie artist AleXa, following on the heels of her solid (but unspectacular) Do Or Die and Bomb. Kudos to her management for fully embracing her cool sci-fi cyborg concept, but they really need to tether it to more memorable material. Villain is primarily a performance showcase, favoring production and energy over dynamic songwriting. As such, it comes across as the “mean” girl’s song from a Disney Channel movie musical. It wants to be bad, but it’s all play-acting.
Given a more unique instrumental base, Villain could have become cheesy fun. But, the track hinges on tired trap beats and thundering EDM samples we’ve heard a million times before. With such generic production, the heavy lifting falls upon AleXa. She clearly has personality to spare, but the hair-twirling “So what?”s, “Sorry, not sorry”s and “Whatever”s come across more valley girl than confident K-pop idol. It’s juvenile stuff, and does her no favors.
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