Forget retro or trap or EDM or whatever trend you want to highlight. Yoo Jaesuk has become the year’s most reliable purveyor of mega-hits – at least on the Korean charts. His series Hangout with Yoo has transformed itself into a delivery method for K-pop unit groups. First we had SSAK3 with their summer smash Beach Again, and now we have Refund Sisters with Don’t Touch Me.
This is a formidable foursome, consisting of legends Lee Hyori and Uhm Jung Hwa, alongside current chart-toppers Hwasa and Jessi. Honestly, the quality of the song doesn’t even matter. With this roster, how could Don’t Touch Me not be a hit? It’s delightful that this multi-generation group simply exists, and the level of charisma is off the charts at every turn. With that said, I wish the material was stronger. These are four vastly different performers, so combining their unique talents was always going to be a challenge. It makes sense, then, that Don’t Touch Me draws most strongly on a sense of badass attitude. That’s one aspect these four certainly have in common.
This energy fuels Don’t Touch Me, even as its hooks are somewhat throwaway. The instrumental pounds with percussive force, knocking listeners’ heads with a stomping beat ornamented by swoops of mystical-sounding synth. Still, for as much firepower is unloaded here, the track never builds to a defining moment. It kicks off with blunt force and pretty much stays there. And speaking of force, we don’t get to hear Jessi sing nearly enough these days. Her opening line grabs you by the collar with a resonance that frames the entire track. Nothing else quite lives up to that potential, despite these four ladies’ megawatt star power.