XUM is the rebooted name for three-fifths of disbanded girl group Neon Punch. In my opinion, their fun music never needed a reboot. But, XUM has arrived, and their name stands for… drumroll, please… “Xumething Unlimited Move.” So… there’s that. For the record, Neon Punch was a much cooler name, even if it became threatened by Woollim Entertainment’s Rocket Punch. With this reinvention comes a new sound, as the trio move closer to the chant-and-swag-heavy style favored by many 2020 girl groups.
Ddalala also borrows the popular onomatopoeia naming structure of this year’s K-pop title tracks. Honestly, I can’t remember another time we’ve been treated to so many bimbam tralala doop doop burumpumpum songs. Sometimes I feel like I’m wading through a kindergarten class. Ddalala’s title pretty much gives away the plot. This is a song that thrives on rhythm over melody, and that’s okay. Because of this, it’s useless to discuss choruses and refrains. When it comes down to it, Ddalala succeeds or fails upon the strength of its groove.
With this in mind, I think the song is pretty average. It’s consistent in sound, but even though there’s a ton going on inside the instrumental, Ddalala never builds to many peaks. Instead, the track is a playground of endless percussion. The central rhythm is addicting, and improves with bright stabs of synth. But stretched across three minutes, it becomes a bit monotonous. This is where a beguiling melody might have elevated things. The closest we get is Ddalala’s pre-chorus, which unveils itself in expected fashion before plunging into a minimalist drop that underlines a taunting hook. It’s performed with plenty of attitude, yet struggles to stick.