When Weki Meki debuted in the summer of 2017, they billed their concept as “teen crush.” Over the years, their singles have occasionally lived up to that moniker. However, their recent one-two punch of Dazzle Dazzle and Oopsy strayed too far into cutesy chant-pop for my taste. New single Cool returns them to their edgier roots, unveiling a group that feels revitalized and refocused.
The track opts for a throbbing club beat, employing dulled electronics to craft an instrumental that feels both exciting and aloof. The bassline is instantly reminiscent of ITZY’s hits, but Cool never feels like a copycat. Instead, it embraces the elements that made those ITZY singles so great, while targeting a specific energy all its own. The song is rap-heavy, but not in the way you’d expect of a K-pop track. The first verse feels more like spoken word, riding the groove with a too-cool-for-school attitude. When melody finally pops up in the pre-chorus, it doesn’t amount to much. But in a song of this style, it doesn’t really need to.
Cool’s chorus consists of two contrasting parts. First, we have another spoken word chant-along, delivered with verve. This blossoms into a more fleshed out refrain that stands as the song’s catchiest hook. As the track goes on, some of the attitude begins to feel a bit forced. I’m not a fan of the bridge, which feels too affected in its delivery. But, the vast majority of Cool lives up to its title. It comes across as a real turning point for Weki Meki, and a strong example of K-pop’s ubiquitous “girl crush” concept.