KARD had an incredible debut year, quickly becoming one of the buzziest acts of 2017 and one of the few modern K-pop co-ed groups to gain attention. Since then, I’ve had a hard time connecting with their music. Too often it feels as if they’re twisting themselves into concepts that capitalize on a “badass” image, rather than embracing the fun, personality-rich sound that first brought them to fame. Gunshot is the latest KARD single to draw upon a darker palette, and tempers its emotional subject matter with by-the-numbers K-pop production.
The metaphor of words hitting as hard as a gunshot is tried and true, though I’ll admit I find it difficult to enjoy music centered around gun metaphors unless it’s done in a clearly cartoonish, tongue-and-cheek way. I appreciate the weight of the topics they’re addressing here, and I’m sure they’ll connect with many listeners in a meaningful way. The presentation isn’t for me.
Musically, Gunshot follows the same general path as the past several KARD singles. Its instrumental hinges on percussion, from trap hi-hats to thundering – almost marching band – drums. It gains steam and energy during the track’s final third, adding a welcome intensity that drives Gunshot’s emotion home. BM and J.Seph offer their rugged, imposing flow, but vocalists Jiwoo and Somin are the song’s MVPs. Gunshot doesn’t offer much in the way of melody, but both women deliver forceful performances that add quite a bit of drama to the track. Still, I don’t see myself returning to this song often. You’re much more likely to catch me enjoying Oh NaNa or Hola Hola for the hundredth time.