Review

Buried Treasure: STAYC – Love Fool

STAYC - Love FoolA K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


The overriding opinion on STAYC’s ASAP seems to be one of mild disappointment — at least on this blog. In an unexpected turn, I think I actually like it more than a lot of you do, though it pales in comparison to last year’s So Bad. Thankfully, the b-sides are pretty strong this time around. More importantly, they show a sense of range that gives me hope for the group’s future.

When it comes to K-pop girl groups, we don’t often hear songs like Love Fool (사랑은 원래 이렇게 아픈 건가요). It has a muted quality miles away from the chirpy pop favored by many of STAYC’s peers. The leisurely melody conjures images of a hot summer afternoon or lazy Sunday morning, and shines spotlight on STAYC’s strong and diverse set of vocal tones. The overall sound reminds me of YG Entertainment’s more laidback material. I could imagine Bigbang recording something like this, or even BLACKPINK (when they’re not trying to be all edgy cool).

Love Fool opens with gorgeous droplets of synth before its gentle percussion kicks in. Guitar soon joins the fray, alongside hazy backing vocals as the track begins to fill out for its chorus. The melody here is quite evocative, but my favorite segment occurs during Love Fool’s pre-chorus. The vocal has a tug to it that really sells the sentiment. I can’t imagine STAYC ever promoting something like this as a title track, but I’d love to see them explore a more upbeat version of this sound. Maybe for summer?

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


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12 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: STAYC – Love Fool

  1. Wow this song is really pretty, thank you for featuring it Nick! I was ready to give this mini a skip after that lackluster title track. Might as well check out the rest of it now.

    I really love the girls’ vocal tones, which is more than enough reason to give their b-side material a shot. Their voices are distinct from one another and interesting. I love the lazy summer vibe of this, too. Sounds like a song you’d hear played on a boombox at the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is lovely! This feels like a new sound for BEPilsung and STAYC, I was really impressed by the chorus. I hear the “Ghosting” comparison, also the groove gives me the vibe a more upbeat IU’s ‘eight ft. Suga.’ Actually, a lot of the singing reminds me of some of IU’s affectation. It works!

    I didn’t comment on ‘ASAP’ cuz of the extent it disappointed me but now I’m more inclined to check out the rest of the album 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • oooo – thank you for asking and letting me indulge…gave it a couple of listens

        In general. I think the title track is trying to place STAYC in a similar conceptual lane as Weeekly- carefree fun youthful – it’s a weaker offering.
        I liked how much gravitas “So Bad” has, it contains the mature power of “Fancy” and “I’m So Sick” but the drum n bass groove gives it youthful energetic edge.

        ASAP kinda plods along (which really bummed me on the first listen) and reaches some truly charming moments! I don’t want to be too negative about it because I wanna give myself room to come to enjoy it. I look forward to watching their promotions!

        “So What” is definitely a grower. I love the unison final chorus. I wish every chorus had them singing in unison.

        Although there’s a maturity in “Love Fool” that makes it feel very appropriate for STAYC and gives us something new. So I am growing to love this track as I said in my earlier comment. This also has big unison final chorus.
        I really like STAYC’s unison blend! please more of it in the future !!

        The TAK remix isn’t my favorite of his productions (that being Lovelyz’s “Twinkle” and NCT 127 “Superhuman”). I really really wish they had just done an original track with TAK co-producing in collaboration with BEP.

        Black Eyed Pilseung’s writing is always melodically rich – so I think there’s some replay value. I’ve listened to Weeekly’s We Play EP a lot after it came out and I don’t see myself reaching for STAYDOM in the same way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m actually kinda suprised you did a review on this song. I remember first hearing it on the train and I realized I liked it more than ASAP, but the nature of the song made me doubt you’d actually write about it. I also thought it suited a relaxed summer setting, but you don’t really seem to like relaxed lol. You like BIG

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a backing track for so many pleasant scenarios:
    -Sitting in a city park eating lunch? Check!
    -Riding along the coast with the top down and your hair in the wind? Check!
    -Sitting in the back of a pickup truck going down a country dirt road? Check!
    -Riding a bike through a heavily wooded trail? Check!
    -Paddle-boating? Rollerblading? Etcetera? Check! Check! Check!

    Yep.. ..it’s a keeper.

    Like

  5. Omg, thanks!!! I was really let down by ASAP i didn’t really reach for the mini album. I’ve been also busy with WSJN’s album but i really like this song. It is soft yet interesting. The girls execute really well…i adore Yoon’s and J’s parts.

    Like

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