After a jam-packed 2019, CLC have been absent from the comeback slate this year. It’s not great timing, as they seemed to be building momentum. But, judging from their first-day album sales, fans were willing to wait. New single Helicopter skirts right past the throwback pop of prior single Devil and thrusts the group back into a harder-edged hip-hop sound. It’s successful in spurts, but hampered by its formulaic approach.
Helicopter is one of those tracks composed by a veritable army of creators. We’ve got representatives from the Joombas and TENTEN teams, plus ubiquitous husband-wife duo Melanie Fontana and Michel ‘Lindgren’ Schulz. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it’s hard to get really experimental or idiosyncratic. Thus, Helicopter’s verses retreat to the kind of blustering half-sung, half-rapped style favored by many idol groups this year. CLC are a good conduit for this approach, delivering attitude by the boatload. But, the instrumental doesn’t bring any unique character to the verses.
Once we hit the pre-chorus, the percussion becomes more of a stomp. It’s a decent set-up, buoyed by a dramatic vocal turn. The chorus itself is about as silly as you can imagine, leaning heavily on the “helicopter” metaphor. But, I kind of enjoy its unapologetically anthemic structure. Given different lyrics, and placed within a more dynamic song, I think this could have been a total standout. As is, the hook delivers a bit of goofy fun, bettered by a sudden tempo change during Helicopter’s finale. It’s not enough to make the song feel any less generic, but it’s nice to hear it build to a full-throated chorus.