Many K-pop idols end up branching out to Japan, but Rocket Punch feel uniquely suited for that market. Most of their title tracks have a very J-pop sound already, and Juri is a former member of Japanese group AKB48. It’s no surprise that Woollim is pushing them abroad this early, while senior groups Lovelyz and Golden Child have yet to make that move.
Bubble Up is well-suited to a certain facet of J-pop taste. It feels like a NiziU song, or one of Twice’s early Japanese singles. It’s bright and cute, but not overwhelmingly so. This feels like Rocket Punch operating firmly in their comfort zone, and that’s not a bad thing. The melody blends sing-song phrases with shots of heartier refrains. This is clearly evidenced in the chorus, which makes room for both styles. I’m a fan of the introductory hook, which sees the girls singing in a more robust style. The cheery, chanted “ooh, bubble up up!” is less successful, but that’s probably my personal taste poking through. You all know how I feel about this kind of cheerleader-esque style.
Most of Bubble Up is harmless fluff. It’s not a remarkable track, but its brisk pace and fun energy go down easy. And though the song benefits from its relatively straightforward nature, this also means that Rocket Punch fail to land any… well… punches. Instead, the song plays everything incredibly safe. With Juri’s established popularity, this probably won’t matter. However, I hope the girls branch out to more compelling J-pop material in the future.