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.
This is such a cute and peppy poppy song.
Although to be honest, it sounds like an ad for some toy called Magic Rainbow Glitter Unicorn Bubbles that magically bubbles rainbow glitter bubbles through its unicorn horn as if by magic! Collect them all!
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😹 Don’t give them any ideas! Next thing you know virtual Rocket Punch rainbow unicorn glitter bubbles will be up for sale as NFTs. Shhhh!
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honestly, i feel like Woollim is having some sort of identity crisis for Rocket Punch. like, they can’t stick to one single concept for them. are they cute and bright? girl crush? retro? who knows? hopefully they find their own sound and stick to it.
or maybe Woollim is trying to make a Red Velvet-like group.
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Concept wise, it seems to be pretty consistent in terms of aesthetics. I would argue that it is the sound that keeps changing, which I don’t mind.
My personal score for Bubble Up is 8.25, would be 8.5 without chanting.
I really need cutesy chanting and shouts to vacate the K-Pop premises. I can’t think of a single song where that type of sound/element has added to the overall quality instead of detracting from it.
Advocate for chanting here – I love chants in songs (as long as it isn’t too highpitched or very overly aegyo-ish).
I think when it first came around. it worked fine. And then everyone else added it everywhere and now it is oversaturated and overused.
A short list of where I don’t mind it:
– Since this week is 2015 retro week, I came across Oh My Girl “Cupid” again.
– Red Velvet “Happiness” debut from 2014.
– Early Twice songs.
– Rocket Punch’s own Bouncy Bouncy from last year. I love that song.
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It’s a smart move. Their sales in Korea are pretty stagnant and overall just don’t display a good trajectory, and they really haven’t attracted a dedicated fan base either. What doesn’t seem very intelligent about the song’s delivery is the fact that the one native Japanese speaker barely has any parts, and most of them are just na na’s and a quick kira kira. As a native speaker as well, I have this problem with Twice’s Japanese releases as well (though they aren’t the only group). You usually get left with two extremes: either the Japanese speakers are underutilized for their language abilities or transitions between native and accented or non-speakers is very jarring. (Plus, I always prefer not to understand the lyrics for most of these songs lol). It will also be interesting to see how the public reacts to Juri’s K-Pop transition. Obviously, Sakura is still very relevant and popular in Japan, but there was also quite a bit of backlash and negativity surrounding her K-Pop styling/visual transformation (plus the usual political tensions as well). While I do think the group has the potential to do well in Japan, I wouldn’t be surprised if Juri herself winds up being far less of a draw than Woollim might anticipate due to the same reasons as Sakura but to an even greater degree.
Like Nick briefly said about Golcha, I find it VERY strange that they haven’t released any Japanese songs yet. Even at debut, they seemed to have a bit more buzz in the niche markets in Japan than they had in all of Korea or among other international fans. They’ve held fan meetings, concerts, and have an official fan club in Japan but zero songs. The only logical explanation I can think of is that Woollim (whose sound has now turning into Who?-llim) planned to debut them in Japan last year but had to nix it due to Covid and then decided to capitalize on their Road to Kingdom stint by doubling down on domestic promotions instead. There is just too much groundwork that was laid earlier for me to believe that one wasn’t planned. Not to mention Golden Child is one of the few groups I actually WANT to debut in Japan since I think they could really further develop their more distinctive earlier sound through some Japanese original songs.
Thank you for your comment. It is always interesting to hear a more local objective perspective about the groups and the industry.
Out of curiosity how do my SuJu boys do here? “Opera”
I didn’t expect to like this song this much! It reminds me of Juicy but with much more teeth. Hope it does well in Japan! They deserve it
For me is good Rocket Punch try many genre and concept rather than stay one concept like Lovelyz. Rocket Punch is the most versatile group in woollim and tbh before Rocket punch woollim just give same concept or afraid to try many genre & concept for their artist