I have great affection for the members of Mamamoo, yet it’s been ages since I’ve loved one of their singles. Their music has always had a tongue-in-cheek, comical aspect, and that willingness to poke fun at themselves has become one of their charms. But, this approach has also made some of their comebacks feel a little throwaway. It’s not that the girls aren’t working hard (they are!). It’s just that too much of their recent material has settled into the same groove.
Now, pre-releases aren’t supposed to carry the same weight as actual comebacks, but new single Dingga (딩가딩가) is a little too slight for its own good. Mamamoo has embraced K-pop’s burgeoning retro trend in their own way. For Dingga, this means disco strings and heaps of rhythm guitar. Throw in some bongo drums for good measure and you’ve got a nice, quirky instrumental. The track delivers a satisfying dancefloor-ready energy. In another reality, this production would have acted as the perfect springboard for a robust melody and harmony-rich performance. Imagine how amazing Dingga could have become if its instrumental had paired with a refrain as dynamic as 2014’s Mr. Ambiguous or – dare I say it – 2016’s Decalcomanie?
Instead, Dingga is content to remain a silly little pop track, driven by the girls’ charisma rather than a unique hook. Its chorus is simple and repetitive, delivered in the same nonchalant manner that characterized most of last year’s Hip. Mamamoo are cool enough to make this work, but I wish that Dingga felt more like a moment. Last month’s CF track Wanna Be Myself hinted at the Mamamoo sound I first fell in love with. Dingga could do with more of those airy high notes and fleshed-out melodies.