Review

Song Review: Pink Fantasy – Poison

Pink Fantasy - PoisonApart from their ‘girl in a mask’ gimmick, not much about Pink Fantasy’s discography has remained consistent. Their music swings pretty wildly between sounds, though a creepy sense of unease ties everything together. Still, I think the group hit the sweet spot with 2019’s rock-fueled Fantasy. It’s a shame that follow-up singles jettisoned this style completely, but Poison (독) revisits the genre in a big way.

Immediately, most listeners will compare Poison to Dreamcatcher’s music. The similarity is hard to ignore, though parts of this song actually go harder than most of Dreamcatcher’s singles. Pink Fantasy fully embrace the track’s heavy guitar riffs and barreling percussion. Haunting keys tie the instrumental together, adding a crystalline texture to the otherwise overbearing arrangement. But, Poison kicks up a brisk pace throughout, harnessing an energy more in keeping with K-pop’s dance-heavy expectations.

While heavy metal isn’t really my thing (especially that death scream that comes after Poison‘s first chorus), I’m surprised how much I enjoy this. The verses get the job done, and I appreciate the lower tone of the vocals. But, Poison really comes alive during its chorus. It’s sung in unison, giving the refrain a force that matches the aggressive instrumentation. Judging from their past few singles, Pink Fantasy sound more assured than expected, and the melody itself packs a punch. It all builds to a volley of dramatic power notes, lending a shot of intensity just where the song needs it. This may just beat Fantasy as the group’s best title track yet.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

34 thoughts on “Song Review: Pink Fantasy – Poison

  1. I suppose since the Dreamcatcher kpop-does-hard-rock niche consists of only Dreamcatcher, it was only time before someone else tries to elbow their way in. Does Pink Fantasy succeed? My head is saying yes, but my heart is saying no. I mean, we all know that this is a recent switch from PF previous release styles, so it is a deliberate move versus DC who have consistently been that style for years now. It’s a bit of a gimmick to see if something will stick for PF this time around. The result sounds plausible.

    What _would_ help is if they ditch the creepy bunny mask now morphed into creepy animal skull for most of the mv.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I will say, the concept is weird AF… but it’s not that bad once I think about it. You get to be whoever and not have to worry about make-up or looking good. That said, Daewang has been said by the other members that she has visuals.

      Besides, apparently Daewang does like wearing it and may have came up with the idea herself. From what I’ve read, she talked about this a lot on their fancafe: she struggles with anxiety, and having the mask helps her feel a lot less self-conscious because it obscures her identity.

      Honestly, good for her. She gets the publicity for PinkFantasy and herself, participate without triggering her anxiety (may be she has awful lines too) and fits the Alice in Wonderland theme very well. She’s not taking that mask off until she’s comfortable without it so you’ll deal with it whenever they comeback again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ugh. I wrote a response and then closed out my browser without hitting send! The prevailing theory is that Daewang is actually the CEO, and it does make a lot of sense. She’s only one year older than the oldest named member, SeeA. Considering the group’s leader is one of the younger members, it fits a bit better if she is promoting with them to balance out that age difference as the leader would really be closer to a sort of second in command place. She’s also a former idol that was in two different groups and speaks Japanese (one of the public facts about Daewang). From my own profession as a cosmetic dermatologist, her hand is very visible in the teaser photos for this comeback. That’s one of the easiest places to read someone’s age, which I would approximate around 30 give or take depending on sun exposure. The Lemon Candy mask showed more of her face, and the jawline and lip shape is very similar to their CEO. And if it is her, good for her. She accepted a lot of the members because they wanted to be idols but weren’t being picked up by other agencies or were in short lived groups that disbanded, which is similar to her own experience. Wearing the mask could both be a confidence issue along with not wanting to overshadow the group. “Member in a mask” is a gimmick but still far less of one than “CEO is in the group,” which is something netizens might be very critical of and just view them as sidekicks to give her a career, which isn’t the case.

        This is her picture from promoting in an older group: https://kpop.fandom.com/wiki/Chie

        Even if it isn’t her, visual evidence would still suggest that whoever Daewang is, she would be on the older side of being a female K-Pop idol, especially for a newer group. The not so secret age requirements for being a female idol are becoming increasingly outdated. Mamamoo and RV both have members that are in their 30s. If Twice and BP renew, they will hit that age range as well. Considering all these groups are still going strong, it’s nice to see K-Pop not sending female idols to the garbage like they expire at 25 or so any longer. Soloists like Taeyeon and Heize are both 30, and obviously the biggest girl group of the moment, Brave Girls, have members in that age range as well. If it takes a mask for someone to perform on stage and it’s their dream and they do their job well, who are we to say otherwise? I just hope seeing older female idols being so successful also leads to not debuting idols so young. 14 years old, give or take, is way too young to make a commitment that contractually obligates you for 7 years of your adolescence and young adult life.

        That went off on a huge tangent lol, sorry.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have heard that theory too – that the masked maiden is really the CEO. I believe that more than the performance anxiety masking mask. Although, to be frank, I am on the fence between “whatever works for them” and “creeeepy” regardless of the reason. The carnivale-style mask look is way better than the rabbit head and the animal skull.

          The mask is also clearly a distraction, since people bring up the creepy mask as much or even more than their actual music.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’s clearly a gimmick (done before by some other nugu group) but I think all of this PF mask stuff stopped being weird to me because I got used to fursuits and Vtubers. I wouldn’t want a fursuit, but I got desensitized to the aesthetic of the furry heads that it doesn’t really bat an eye to me anymore. The bone mask is creepy fully, but with the whole horror cult vibe they’re going for it’s just a concept to me.

            Also, to be fair I liked both of the previous comebacks musically. Shadow Play was a surprising hit with me, something about it just clicked with me. I also liked Lemon Candy probably more than most, though I know it wasn’t the right move for them music-wise. They’ve peaked my interest music-wise more than the Daewang mask thing.

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        • Sorry this is off topic but YOU CAN SERIOUSLY TELL A PERSON’S APPROXIMATE AGE JUST FROM A SHOT OF THEIR HAND? ARE YOU SERIOUS? I was born in the same year as the CEO and i’m freaking out now I’m gonna go slather myself in serums thank you

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          • Yessiree, sunscreen on the back of the hands every day. But then there are vein and wrinkle and knuckle changes which no cream can prevent.

            There are some very mean people who follow Madonna’s looks over the years for both her face and =her hands=.

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          • Lol yes, but don’t expect anyone who isn’t a professional to guess well. People often remember to include the neck, but they forget their hands. One of the easiest ways to remediate that is simply by pressing in your products with the back of your hands (wash them first) unless it is a product formulated for acne or is too drying for thin skin. Some anti-aging products like Vitamin C work well for wrinkles along the joints, but it’s impossible to have none. It’s just a byproduct of using your hands for a longer time. Some changes are just physiological, particularly for veins and bone structure, and there’s not much that can be done in that way without hand rejuvenation surgeries, but ideally, no one should be getting to that point until MUCH later in life (unless they have very poor lifestyle choices, forget sunblock in that area, etc.), and even then, it’s scope can be limited for some changes. The face, neck, décolletage, and hands are the areas that give aging away the most.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Pressing in your products with the back of your hands is a good tip, thank you! It is nice to have a thing I can do without really changing up my routine since I already own so many products.

              In general I wish society did not place so much scrutiny on women as we age, but what can I do.. 😦

              Liked by 1 person

              • (I don’t think my hands show any signs of aging yet though, really. I suppose the idol lifestyle might paradoxically cause those things to catch up with a person quicker… I mean with the dieting and physical exertion involved. I’ve had a pretty cushy white-collar lifestyle lol.)

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  2. I know this blog is about kpop and jpop only but i have a question for you nick

    Did ever listen to jessie ware “what’s your pleasure” album

    It’s this fantastic 80’s inspired album but i’m to sure if i call it inspired

    It sounds like something Donna summer would release

    If you did i was wondering what are your thoughts about album

    I’m very sure you’ll love it

    Like

  3. This is around the rating I thought you’d give it.

    But WOW, LOVED IT. My heart was bumping hard. I was squealing, and headbanging. I’ve mellowed out now after lots of listens, but man was it a high.

    Let it be known that I think this goes just as hard if not harder than the hardest Dreamcatcher songs which is really a mix-up between Endless Night, Good Night and Silent Night… they have lots of Night songs okay?

    I like the use of offbeats. The scream(o) part definitely start on the offbeat + having two separate 3/4 bars offset for the guitar and vocals so the guitar goes out of sync with the vocals for a brief moment in the second verse.

    The vocals are carried by two members who sing 90% of the song (Yechan and SeeA). That might be a complaint, but honestly the members might be fine with that considering they really sing live each time so who knows. Those two are a powerhouse.

    If I had a complaint, just that it’s definitely not as catchy or hook-y as Dreamcatcher can be, or the mixing is off just slightly. It’s similar to the problems of Fantasy, but I honestly don’t care. It’s a great song regardless, different enough, and well-executed from DC’s songs that it doesn’t feel like a copy. Though it does feel deliberately influenced.

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  4. Oh I love this. Dreamcatcher is one of my favourite groups but my one complaint with their music is that I sometimes wish they’d go a bit harder, and this hits that sweet spot for me. I love the screamo part haha, hope they stick with this style because this and Fantasy are easily their best songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think what I like the most about this is the fact they got an actual guitarist in it. It adds a whole lot of difference to the vibe and song.

    As with the Dreamcatcher comparisons that are inevitably gonna come, I would put this more towards the tier of alt-idol jpop bands rather than anything DC do, especially with the combined vocal chorus. Still waiting for a kpop group to go full early BiS https://youtu.be/Rehz5z0uuWA

    Anyway I like it, I hope it sticks.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Despite the comparisons in concept, they are not at all similar song-wise. Personally, I think Endless Night is more similar to Poison than Good Night. Has the metal verses and the constant guitar in the chorus… although it is still too different to really be a comparison.

        Poison’s metalcore really sets it apart from literally any other DC song, which is why it sounds way harder than anything DC has made aside from the Silent Night or In the Frozen drops, which is EDM not rock or metal.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah, this is pretty good! It would have been better if they started out with this style – it’s such a genre shift that it does feel a little like a gimmick.

    Like

    • I think the genre shifts are because PinkFantasy can’t decide on where they stand in the cute to creepy scale. Alice in Wonderland defines PinkFantasy, and they can’t figure out how to represent this.

      Iriwa was cute in concept and song but just creepy enough. Fantasy was full on drama. Lemon Candy was a return to the cutesy concept, but still being somewhat creepy with its dissonant musicality. Now we’ve gone full on edgy horror.

      If you look at their past comebacks as representatives of AiW, then you see the cute bunny facade of the debut to underlying drama to the candy-burst to the edgy feel. It’s kind of Alice in Wonderland’s whole gist in a way.

      Shadow Play does not count, it was sub-unit but I get that song is way dissonant from anything PF has done (although I will still get up and dance to Shadow Play all day long)

      (sidenote: Wow, Lemon Candy is a dang bop I didn’t realize until now. Love the weirdness of the song.)

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hopefully the fact that they re-recorded their early singles and left out their most upbeat ones (Lemon Candy, Playing House) with their current lineup for their EP is a sign that the group is finally settling down. It hasn’t even been 3 years into their career yet and they already have had 3 subunits, a Japanese debut, and numerous “guest performers” for comebacks. While I appreciate the willingness of letting the girls choose when and what they want to perform, it’s a difficult way to be build a fandom or maintain enough interest to ever be able to pay off trainee debts.

    The comparisons to Dreamcatcher are rather obvious, but did anyone else feel like the influence of J-Pop groups like AKB, Morning Musume, etc. was also present in the song? The way the vocals are layered and placed so forward on the chorus is very reminiscent of that J-Pop female idol group mixing to me. I do hope they stick to this kind of concept though. It’s produced their two best songs and fits them very well. Competing in a niche market rather than for mainstream popularity is also more viable for a smaller agency. I also don’t think I can take the whiplash of them going back and forth between the more aegyo upbeat tracks and this. 😹

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  8. I honestly didn’t expect much from them But, I actually love this. They made dreamcatcher seem so tame. My only wish is that the arrangement wasn’t going so hard in certain places. The screamo part could’ve been omitted but at least they only did it once

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  9. I’ve always been of the opinion that rock especially metal works best with deep female voices and these girls really deliver that. I’m really excited about the emphasis placed on their vocals-it does a lot to elevate the song to such a high level. I especially like the voice of the girl with the short hair. I don’t think there was an actual rap break. Maybe they had a small rap section after the “Tik Tok” but they didn’t derail the tempo and instrumental of the song to slot one in which is *chef’s kiss*
    Since I am a huge Dreamcatcher fan I actually think the comparisons aren’t really necessary. Dreamcatcher has always been a more of a pop rock group or like *insert non-rock genre* plus rock but rarely are their title tracks straightforward rock and they’ve had a screemo element even in their more experimental B-sides (which I honestly wouldn’t mind). That isn’t to say Poison is more rock but it’s definitely more metal (gives me like Nightwish does pop vibes at parts especially the chorus) or at least less poppy than most of DC’s title tracks. I really hope they stay constant with this style in future comebacks (if they have any more). Horror girl group concepts seem to be in considering the rise of DC, Pixy, and even Purple Kiss to some extent so I think it would do them well to stick with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. To me this sounds far harsher and less melodic than Dreamcatcher. I don’t like it but I could see it as the opening theme to an anime series.

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  11. This is easily their strongest title. I loved the way the vocals were layered for maximum effect in the chorus, even when not being too melodically complex with hooks that stick around for a wrong while. Though the comparisons to dc are obvious, I would rather compare it to metal J-band down to that post-chorus screaming. And, I also think the song suffered from a bit of mixing issues. I also felt like the vocals did not match the frantic pace of the instrumental at places, but I think that’s just me?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. i like Pink Fantasy, but i’m sorry, i am just not with that ‘bunny’ gimmick….it’s just really silly to me….

    Like

  13. I actually gave this a chance specifically because you mentioned the “death scream” and I was really interested to hear that in a kpop song. Still not my thing, but very cool that they went there.

    Like

  14. *POISONED*

    Now.. ..which one of you fine people is gonna help a fellow blog surfer and suck out the poison before I pop?

    Like

  15. How did I miss this?

    Dreamcatcher are my ultimate bias group and this is really, really Good Night that leans harder into J-Pop songwriting. Their producers really like that song (I mean, same). Not just the rock aspects, but the music box melody and the tick-tock tick-tock in the verses and even the first few notes of the chorus. But you know what, whatever. Good Night is a great song and honestly I wish more groups would do this kind of stuff anyway. Like that Purple Kiss predebut song. Give me ALL the rock/metal girl groups! Please!

    Yes to harsh vocals! Yes to that outro solo! The chromaticism in the chorus melody makes me stupidly happy. The vocals this time around are a lot more confident too and really suit the style this time. If I had a minor complaint, it’s the chorus actually pushes the guitars too hard down for a synth wash which threw me a bit, and the drums don’t kick up hard enough to compensate. The thing that makes Dreamcatcher choruses really stand out is the percussion. But minor thing.

    All in all, I like this a lot. Is it derivative? It clearly wears its influences on its sleeve but the songwriting philosophy strikes me as different. I would love for them to keep doing this, maybe choose a different Dreamcatcher song to crib from (Fantasy is also very Good Night-by-way-of-JPop) because much as I objectively enjoy Fantasy I also keep singing Good Night over it and I worry I might end up doing the same to this song. That said, this song is much more intense and better than Fantasy; the vocals really stepped up in a big way.

    I would give this a 9 at the very least for sheer enjoyment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve listened to this several more times since the above comment. A couple more observations:

      While the J-pop influence is still pronounced, the verse vocal delivery is very much BP/IDLE/KDA-style girl crush with a rock instrumental that really leans into the rock. This is a good blend to work with and I would love to see more groups pursue this (but with actual choruses to boot!).

      About my production quibbles, a few more listens revealed to me what the actual problem is: a couple more points of dynamic range (and maybe a bit more kick drum, but maybe there is kick that’s just getting pushed really far down) would’ve really let that chorus explode like it should have. The verses could be a tiny bit less bricked; even though I know they should go hard they don’t have to be pushing to the top every single time. The loudness wars are a big problem enough in actual metal music as is, and it would be a fool’s errand to ask pop producers not to compress everything to hell and back.

      But far be it from me to complain about production from a small agency. This is definitely my favorite title of theirs and has my stamp of approval.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. More of Dreamcatcher is always a good thing! After all, there’s only so much a single group can release in a year.

    This song is competently written (so practical!). It’s backed by a suitably hard-hitting track. And the girls’ voices sound great with the mixing, which is a treat for lower-profile groups.

    It might be missing is “wow factor.” Had I listened to this and a random Dreamcatcher single blind, it’s a tossup which I would prefer. But when you add Dreamcatcher’s charisma and production budget and the fact that they were one of the first groups doing this sound AND visuals, then Pink Fantasy might feel less exciting in comparison. Maybe a few more musical variations in the final chorus could have made it feel more climactic too (beyond the extended ending, which I really liked.)

    
PS:
    As for the rabbit… I felt the same way about it when I first saw it as I did seeing the cats at the end of Hyunjin’s “Let Me In.” I didn’t think either made much difference to the videos thematically and didn’t see the point. But clearly the member wants to keep the mask for now, and it seems to be attracting attention (which positive or negative, is good for marketing.) I’d rather they not get rid of it just because it makes people uncomfortable. Honestly, if there’s a world where Pink Fantasy released the next blockbuster summer hit with the bunny mask involved, I wouldn’t be mad.

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