As usual, Golden Child gets the “bias group advantage” on this site. This means not only their title track and a buried treasure will be reviewed, but I’ll be taking a look at the entire new single album Pump It Up.
There aren’t many idol groups I can count on to deliver not only consistently great title tracks, but consistently great album tracks as well. Like their agency seniors Infinite, Golden Child never disappoint in either case. I’ve always appreciated upbeat fare over ballads, but Woollim Entertainment has a knack for picking dynamic tracks that compliment the strengths of their artists, regardless of tempo.
And make no mistake about it, That Guy (그 자식) is a dynamic ballad. Written by the same team that produced H.E.R from the group’s last album, the track is masterful at moving between push and pull. It builds to several emotional crescendos, but also delivers more restrained segments. This contrast serves the song well, keeping it compelling all the way through. This is heightened by dramatic production that takes advantage of the song’s structure. Thundering drums will always make me weak in the knees, and I’m in love with the ones that underline That Guy’s pre-chorus. They spotlight an excellent flourish from leader Daeyeol, who is finally given a venue to unleash the full power of his voice. He’s easily my standout performer here, and that’s a difficult feat when competing against main vocals Y and Joochan.
That Guy retains a lush, sentimental vibe throughout, and has a satisfying heft that sweeps you off your feet. The chorus is stuffed to the brim with falsetto, strings and percussion, working as a great centerpiece. The two-part bridge is also a major highlight, especially as the track pauses to reset itself via a soft rap verse. It’s a showy arrangement, but I’m a proponent of “the bigger, the better” when it comes to pop ballads. Give me that overblown, confetti drop moment. No need to make it subtle.