KEEMBO’s Scandalous emerged as a welcome surprise back in May, a rare Sweetune-penned pop track that proved the production team hadn’t lost their touch. Yet for me at least, Scandalous had far less staying power than I would have expected. I’ll partially attribute this to KEEMBO’s under-the-radar (ie: nonexistent) promotion keeping the track off my radar. On the plus side, the girls have maintained their working relationship with Sweetune for follow-up 99 (Gu Gu).
The prospect of a Sweetune-produced summer track is almost too good to be true. So, why does 99 feel so inessential? This certainly isn’t the synth-driven, ultra-melodic Sweetune I’ve grown to love. 99 harnesses a much more subdued beat, bolstered by brassy elements of jazz. Its bright, keys-driven beat is pleasant in a “drive along the beach” way, but it never builds into something more. Instead, KEEMBO offer an airy performance over the top, gliding along the rhythmic instrumental with polish (and plenty of added vocal runs). It’s all very pleasant, yet doesn’t feel dynamic in the way the best Sweetune songs do.
Sweetune’s trademark vocal layering rears its head during 99’s chorus, which has a breezy appeal. KEEMBO never fully lean into this arrangement, and that’s a shame. Instead, the refrain is echoed by a silly “gu gu gu” hook that is brief but unnecessary. Thankfully, 99 kicks up a nice groove that keeps the energy buoyant throughout. That’s faint praise when it comes to Sweetune, but it’s better than nothing.
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Hi Nick! Are we ever gonna get a Buried Treasure for ATEEZ’s new album? Or did none of the side tracks really do it for you?
None of it was particularly great but if we do get one I’m guessing Fever or Good Lil Boy only for both of the choruses. Personally I’d lean more to Good Lil Boy but I’m not sure.
Oh, geez, I even subscribe to their channel and it didn’t pop up. Their channel and promotions seem to consist of one appearance on a music show, and lots and lots of uploads of covers from their living room. Too many uploads, so I don’t check it often anymore.
Song is OK! But not compelling. It does have a lot of things going for it, but surprisingly the vocal isn’t one of them. For having a pair of the best vocals in 2nd gen kpop. it sure doesn’t sound like it here. Such as 2:43 and 3:00, that high trill at the end of the chorus lines, there could easily have been sung ad libs over the chorus that take that high theme and go crazy with it adding more awesomeness and taking it higher greater better. Instead, the vocal just retreats back to the regular chorus melody. A missed opportunity.
Doubtless they will have a live version on their little channel to check out, but right now all I see are one hour long showcases and I am not that committed.