Over the course of the past few years, Apink have settled into their place as elder stateswomen of K-pop. While most of their peers have gone on indefinite hiatus or disbanded, they continue to reinvent themselves to great success. This transformation includes solo releases of varying genres. Jeong Eunji has been releasing her own music for years now, with Oh Hayoung following suit in 2019. Now, it’s Kim Namjoo’s turn.
Debut solo single Bird was co-written by the ubiquitous Soyeon (of (G)I-DLE fame) and tackles the theme of rebirth. However, aside from a few interesting elements, the song isn’t so much a rebirth as it is a reframing of 2020’s musical tropes. Tethered to a percussive, lurching backbone, the song enlists a few Eastern instrumental elements to help forge a character of its own. But, the production never catches fire. Its energy stops and starts too frequently to build toward any meaningful climax. I enjoy the emphasis on woodwinds, and even the cheesy bird sound effects. I just wish they were in service to a more compelling song.
Bird’s biggest hurdle is its lack of solid melody. Like too many tracks this year, both the verses and chorus are delivered in a sing-talk style, vaguely melodic but never structured in a way that feels satisfying or memorable. Bird’s chorus is quite lazy, hinging on simple repetition that never hits as hard as it should. For as many competing elements as the track introduces, the end product is quite minimalist. It’s like we’re only hearing part of the song, with additional layers missing. Bird is most fleshed-out during its synth-heavy chorus, but even here there aren’t many hooks to grab hold of.