Full disclosure: I’m not much of a gamer. And, I don’t really find the idea of virtual/avatar pop stars to be appealing (hello, æspa!). So, while everyone else was raving about Pop/Stars two years ago, I was mostly oblivious to the hype.
For those like me, the K/DA project is a virtual girl group themed around characters from League of Legends. This group consists of American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns, alongside (G)I-DLE members Soyeon and Miyeon – hence the K-pop connection. New single More brings in Chinese artist Lexie Liu as the character Seraphine, an unlockable “skin” within the game (correct me if I’m wrong, LoL fans).
The result of all this backstory is basically a trussed-up BLACKPINK track, albeit with a more consistent structure. Like Pop/Stars, More vacillates between stomping hip-hop verses and a towering EDM chorus. Overall, it harnesses the kind of take-no-prisoners energy that suits a video game. Its strongest moments occur when the five girls are brought together. The chorus has a majestic swell to it, utilizing SMent-style layering to land an extra punch. However, I wish the track unveiled a more interesting palette of sounds. As it stands, the production is highly polished but hardly unique.
The multi-cultural nature of More means that the song races through three different languages. But, it never feels piecemeal. The girls really do sound as if they’ve been part of the same group for years. For K-pop fans, the song’s opening verse will be the real treat, as Soyeon steals attention with an exciting rap. In comparison, Miyeon is given far less to do, pitching in here and there during the pre-chorus and second verse. But, More is really a team effort, and aside from all the League of Legends tie-ins, it’s a solid pop song in its own right.