So… we can all just pretend that last year’s Birthday didn’t exist, right? I know that song has its defenders, but it was an incredibly odd, underwhelming debut for someone with as much hype as Somi. I have my issues with new single What You Waiting For as well, but it actually sounds like the kind of track I’d imagine when considering Somi’s strengths as a performer.
What You Waiting For feels like Somi auditioning for a fifth slot in BLACKPINK. It’s more of an actual song than producer Teddy has given BLACKPINK in a while, and that’s something to be celebrated. Choruses are something to be celebrated. But, she’s still adopting that bratty “pop girl” affectation that has swept global pop music over the past few years. It’s a real pet peeve of mine, as it feels inauthentic and copycat – sort of the female equivalent of the “skrrt skrrt” that K-pop’s male rappers occasionally toss into a track.
The song opens with a plucked xylophone loop. This instrumental sample was ubiquitous last year, and has thankfully become more rare in 2020. It overstays its welcome on What You Waiting For, but the song quickly transforms into a more satisfying club track. The pulsing chorus is refreshingly old-school, as if it could have been ripped straight from 2012 or 2013. Somi delivers it well, even if she doesn’t have a particularly impactful vocal presence. The track moves at a clip, coming in at under three minutes while still managing to build toward that final, structure-shifting chant that Teddy seems to love so much. Overall, What You Waiting For leaves me with little desire to hit “replay,” but it’s a competent pop song with a decent chorus and an extremely Westernized sound. This should do well for her.
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