Buried Treasure: LOONA – WOW

LOONA - WowA 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.

LOONA’s true musical merit can most clearly be heard in their b-sides. Apart from taking advantage of already-popular trends, I’m confused by their team’s intentions when choosing title tracks. It’s easy to imagine a completely different 2020-21 singles run for the girls – something like: Number 1 > Voice > WOW.

Each of these three tracks feels more in keeping with LOONA’s pre-debut material, with WOW echoing the explosive energy of their first group release, 2018’s Favorite. The big difference is that WOW injects this sound with one of my favorite retro genres. The song’s percussion and energy draw upon 80’s/90’s new jack swing, though the instrumental feels modern enough to avoid being a simple pastiche. That percussion gives WOW incredible punch, emphasizing bright stabs that punctuate the harmonic hooks placed generously throughout the track. This musical drama gives WOW a jazzy, “let’s put on a show!” vibe that’s hard to resist.

I love the song’s vocal arrangements, along with the effects used on some of the lines. Speaking of WOWs, The girls have definitely been playing in Kylie Minogue’s sandbox, utilizing similar filters to the chorus of that 2007 hit. The hook here isn’t quite as strong, but it’s driven by a throw-down intensity that feels authentic and fresh. Add a sprinkling of keys and strong bursts of brass and you’ve got a real pop workout. The fact they accomplish this much in just under three minutes is a minor miracle of its own!

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8


7 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: LOONA – WOW

  1. It’s especially confusing how Loona’s team picks their title tracks since they’ve actually prepared choreo for Voice and WOW, and Voice even had an English version, as well as a MV for it! While I’ve grown to like Why Not and PTT is refusing to leave my head, what lost opportunities ;~;


  2. I think Why Not and So What are genuinely excellent songs and great title tracks in a vacuum… but given Loona’s main audience probably not the BEST choice for the group? WOW is a pretty great song, though I find myself listening more to Be Honest cause I love the vocal harmonies. PTT is at least pretty fun but I’m kind of pissed at Ryan for hyping it up to be some kind of game-changer possibly reviving early to mid-2000s urban pop (think Buttons by Pussycat Dolls or anything off Britney’s In The Zone) and instead the genuinely REALLY cool Bollywood influences are nearly absent on the drop chorus

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The X album by Kylie Minogue… that was a classic!

    I adore WOW and Voice, and I can only hope BlockBerry eventually decides to follow that path for the entirety of an album.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked Wow, glad it’s a buried treasure. I wish they at least made it a pre-release or promote it on music shows.


  5. Well voice was technically a single. In that the English version “Star” was an official single with a video and promotions. I hope they would do the same with Wow.


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