When it comes down to it, what makes a “bias” group? It’s a complicated formula – one that starts and ends with the personal connection you feel to the members and their music. Golden Child haven’t yet released my favorite single in any year since debut, but their appeal runs deeper than a single song. Post-2018, their sound has shifted almost every comeback, nudged along by a revolving door of producers. This is usually a big “no” from me, yet the guys always pull it off through sheer force of personality (and talent!). Is Ra Pam Pam the sound I want to hear from Golden Child? No, not at all. But, they make it work.
I could say the same about January’s Burn It, which rode its reggaeton beat to great success and remains one of 2021’s very best tracks. Ra Pam Pam sidesteps slightly into moombahton, driven by layers of percussion. It’s not nearly as strong as Burn It, but that may be down to personal taste. Golden Child are at their best when allowed to stretch their incredible vocals. Ra Pam Pam’s structure is too clipped and chant-heavy to take full advantage of that asset, though the dramatic bridge offers much-appreciated fireworks.
From verse to chorus, the entire track is fueled by its insistent roll of percussion. This lends Ra Pam Pam great consistency but blunts its overall power. Rather than a series of peaks and valleys, we get into the groove early and never really take off from there. Given the absence of a truly killer melody, the guys have some heavy lifting to do. Their dynamic performance buoys each segment, even as the song refuses to break out of its shell. The chorus – a mix of swirling vocals and onomatopoeia chants – is catchy from the get-go, and repeated often. However, I wish the ‘Ra Pam Pam’ refrain felt more celebratory and less plodding. It’s a little flimsy compared to Burn It’s cathartic climaxes.
Yet through it all, the clarity of Golden Child’s vocals shine through. I love how verse two filters out and in again, adding movement to a melody that threatens to stall. The rap is well-incorporated, and that aforementioned bridge builds to a flourishing performance capped by a breathless power note. In short, Golden Child surpass their material. Now, who do I have to bribe to get a sleek, powerful dance track promoted next time around?