Review

Song Review: Rocket Punch – Ring Ring

Rocket Punch - Ring RingRocket Punch’s music has kept me at a distance so far. Last year’s Bouncy was an addictive bit of noisy pop, undercut by vocals that occasionally felt strained and uneasy. And though I initially hated the cutesy follow-up Juicy, its sheer ridiculousness (mostly) won me over in the end. Now, the girls have aimed straight for my retro-loving heart, delivering an icy synth-pop track with new single Ring Ring.

As with so many K-pop songs that opt for this style, Ring Ring’s instrumental largely just interpolates the iconic riff from a-ha’s Take On Me. I hope K-pop producers soon recall the other great synth riffs of the eighties. Might I suggest Van Halen’s Jump?

Even so, you can never go wrong with this particular instrumental, even if Ring Ring often feels like a copy of Snuper’s superior Platonic Love. The opening synthline tells us all we need to know. Rocket Punch are going full-on pastiche, and the track is strongest when it sticks to that mission. Unsurprisingly, the moments that take me out of the song are also its most trendy. We certainly didn’t need a trap breakdown in the middle of verse two, and the chirpy ending to each chorus derails the more robust melody that precedes it. But apart from these small missteps, and the occasional strained singing, Ring Ring holds together pretty well.

The track is buoyed by an incredibly strong pre-chorus and a hook that regurgitates just enough retro touchstones to draw upon nostalgia. This makes me question whether I actually enjoy the song or simply enjoy the songs it references. In the end, it probably doesn’t matter. Pop music is most potent in the moment, and Ring Ring delivers a fizzy head rush.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.75

34 thoughts on “Song Review: Rocket Punch – Ring Ring

  1. I listened to the teaser and I was like, yep, Take On Me lol

    But it is a fun song! Certainly a good addition to their discography. The b-side Ride is also quite nice.

    I was surprised all of the comebacks today were more enjoyable than the largest amount of tracks released by girl groups this year.

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  2. I mean, it’s a very fast paced retro song (aside from the bad second verse rap that kills the momentum). Pretty good I say.

    That said, I have the same reaction to this song as I do with MAGO where I acknowledge that it’s a very good song that one would think I’d like, but I just am not feeling it. I can feel the propulsion, the hooks are there and my brain is registering the melodies, the synths and the beats, but I don’t know. It isn’t clicking for me yet.

    However. some songs like CODE by SHINEE don’t really get me until much later on where my perspective on the song just shifts and I finally really appreciate the song for what it is. I have a feeling this might be one of those songs. I do think this will ultimately click at some point because it’s a song I’m pretty sure would feel really good but am just not into it at the moment.

    I took a gander at the b-sides and WOW. Ride is basically Rocket Punch’s take on synthwave like Star and LA DI DA and it’s JUST AS GOOD. Amazing song with great melodies and hooks. Honestly, even though Ring Ring was built to be a title track, I think Ride would’ve been better. I just headbanged to Ride like you don’t even know. I Want U Bad is also really good with it’s dark electro vibes but Ride is just such an amazing song.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeah, this is a huge bop. You can’t go wrong with these types of songs. The chorus and the dance is also catchy, I hope it goes viral like how the Weeekly song did.

    9/10

    (Just like you, I also ended up loving Juicy haha)

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  4. Honestly, I keep dreaming ’bout the day some composer decides to ground a k-girlgroup song with “Funkytown” or “I Feel Love”-ish riffs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, we talked about Funky Town a few months ago here. I would strong second that.
      iirc it was around the use of a Key-tar in the instrumental, and the Aus band Pseudo Echo had not one but two Key-tars. Also, the lead Keytarist was like 16 and I was not that much younger so he was hot stuff.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE-itlGNap4

      But while we are making suggestions, hey why don’t we all encourage a revival of Tom Tom Club “Genius of Love”. Everyone used to sample it back in the day, but once Mariah did it all stopped. It should restart.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eGGSZUfEGA

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  5. I somehow have enjoyed every track that Rocket Punch has put out. I also think it’s nice that they have some really solid minis, which a lot of 2019-present debuts have missed lma

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  6. This week’s iteration of this trend. This song autoplayed after aespa while I was not watching the video. For the first 16 measures of the intro instrumental, I sat thinking about if this was some song that was already in the top 10 that I was blithely unaware about, or an ad that I should skip, or what, until I found the youtube tab.

    Its not bad, but it’s a pass for me.

    Also, the nth iteration of mimicking the a-ha “Take on Me” hook without overtly copying. As “Take on Me” was the first single of the first album of the first concert of my first stan, I take this personally. Copying any other 80’s riff would be preferable. I am waiting for some genius to really truly add lyrics to Axel F but Crazy Frog ruined it all for us. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx2gvHjNhQ0 Van Halen would be tough though – they would have to enlist Changmo. Sonny boy likes “Dreams” a lot, because of the Blue Angels. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5PqVeex4QU

    All I can say is Jooce jooce jooce jooce jooce! Loved that song then, still love it. Also Bouncy Bouncy, complete with elephants. Now, can I get anyone else to love fromis FUN!?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I really liked this song from the first listen! I feel like the delivery and the verses are really strong as a whole. Although I feel like the chorus is a bit weak compared to the rest of the track ,in my opinion due to the lack of a more sung chorus and the “empty” part with only the instrumental, I overall really enjoy this title track!!!

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  8. Oh cute! Juicy and their other songs never grew on me but this is quite fun.
    I do think it’s quite high for them, but it’s not too distracting

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  9. Their voices just seem so…shrill at times. I find it very unpleasant when their vocals shoot up into the stratosphere. It’s not something I would listen to regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same experience. I turned it off instantly first time I heard that. This week has me disagreeing with Nick’s ratings a lot – which is uncommon.

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      • I seem to have this issue with a lot of girl groups, actually. I guess there’s a demand for super high, squeaky chirpy voices, not to mention a kind of saccharine, sticky hyper-femininity that makes me want to stab my eyes. My tolerance varies.

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        • See, I don’t mind high pitched voices or hyper-femininity or general obnoxious cutesy-ness at all usually, but the vocal delivery in this song is too much for even me haha.

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  10. While I commented about Fromis winning the day I do think Ring Ring has the more memorable & stronger hook. It does have a take on (ha) take on me but I think it manages to remake it in a unique way (hint hint SME)

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  11. I got a weird vibe while watching/listening to the MV that I was looking at promo reel for a John Hughes film. Hmm.

    Anywho, “Ring Ring” is a perfectly normal, inoffensive, by-the-numbers, pop ditty.

    P.S. There are times when I wonder if Juri is taken seriously by both the company and the other girls. I hope it’s not a situation where the girls think they are the stars, but they have to take Juri to the party for.. ..reasons. Because the truth is, Juri is the reason everyone else shows up to the party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hm I would say Juri really does get certain company privileges though. She was the first member to go on King of Masked Singer, got to post two solo covers on youtube, and woollim allowed her the creative freedom to create her own Japanese vlog Juriful days which is gearing up for a third season. She gets more than the other girls do. The girls are relatively pretty close and humble from what it seems like to be honest.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Well, in my defense, I used terms like “I wonder..” and “I hope..”. I’m not a devout follower so my reservations were based on surface level perceptions; mostly from her role in the MVs and one or two variety show appearances I happened upon. I’m glad to hear that the opposite is true.

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    • I mean, the company certainly knows the popularity and the weight that Juri carries for the group (i.e. being the first to appear on ‘King of the Masked Singer’ and having the most number of solo activities like her many appearances on ‘Korean Foreigner’ and as a judge on ‘King of Masked Singer’, and that Youtube gaming show that I don’t really remember the name now, and even her own japanese series on the channel). Yes, she doesn’t feature as much in title tracks and promotions (although se did get one of the top lines during Bim Bam Bum) but it is mostly a trend to give japanese idols less lines for “not knowing the language” (?).
      As for the girls themselves, they have numerous times said that Juri is like a mentor to them and helped a lot during debut, like a mother. You can also see her playing and bouncing off of the other memebrs in the behind the scenes videos, so I don’t particularly feel like they see her as a weight to be carried.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know why you’d assume the other girls feel that way about her? Is there some drama I don’t know about? They seem friendly to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. As soon as the music started my heart started beating really fast, and not for a good reason. The song is definitely too fast paced. I put it to 0.9x and it actually sounds pretty good at that speed, but I dont think I will be listening to it because of how fast it is TT

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have watched the mv a couple more times and it seems like my speed problem is mostly in the chorus.
      0.95x seems like enough to make it sound right

      I dont really like the girls voices and therefore the song, though. Not that their voices are bad, they just dont make me feel anything :\

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      • It’s not the girls fault! I am sure…
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxA50-wcMfE”
        Just look at this! It sounds so incredible and Rocket Punch’s voices here are awesome man! Why does Woolliim have to relegate all of these awesome propulsive tracks to b-side status?

        Liked by 2 people

  13. “his makes me question whether I actually enjoy the song or simply enjoy the songs it references.”
    This is how I feel, on one had- It has that incredible instrumental that I will never EVER get tired of!
    on the other hand- the girls voice sound strained that they kind of end up sabotaging the song’s otherwise solid melody!

    In the end, It probably doesn’t matter…8.75!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve repeated it ad nauseum, but once again: this retro synth inspired sound is not for me. a ha – Take on Me is pretty much the only song of that genre I wholeheartedly love.

    I dislike the vocal performance on this enough that it made me turn off the song halfway through my first listen.

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