Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Fanfare

Golden Child - Game ChangerIt’s ‘Golden Child comeback’ time again, which means a track-by-track review of their new album, Game Changer! Check back each day of the week as I make my way through the ten new songs.

1. Game Changer (Intro) // 2. Ra Pam Pam // 3. Bottom Of The Ocean // 4. Fanfare // 5. Singing In The Rain // 6. Game // 7. Spell // 8. Out The Window // 9. Poppin’ // 10. That Feeling // 11. I Know


When it comes to highly anticipated comebacks, I often find myself playing the expectations game. It’s hard to even enjoy an album’s first listen because I’m constantly reconciling fantasy with reality based on how I want the music to sound. In Golden Child’s case, I was desperate for them to return with a song like JO1’s Born To Be Wild. Obviously, Ra Pam Pam is quite far from that style and energy. But then, Game Changer delivers Fanfare (빵빠레) and I realize just how close my expectations were to becoming reality.

Fanfare is co-composed by Score and Megatone, the same team who produced Burn It and – yes – Born To Be Wild. Honestly, I’d be satisfied if they became Golden Child’s go-to collaborators from now on. They’re having one hell of year, and they know how to wring the best from a group’s vocals.

Fanfare is my favorite track on the album, and would have made an incredible single. It’s a sleek and energetic dance song – bright and upbeat but not cutesy. Its ultra-rhythmic frame, coupled with muted brass and chunky house piano, is pure bliss. The production is so crisp and full, yet never steals attention from the group themselves.

The song is nudged forward by unbroken momentum, building to a knockout chorus that feels simultaneously explosive and reserved. Verse two injects a fun Jangjun rap before Tag comes in to deliver a more melodic segment. But, Fanfare hints at its full potential during the pre-chorus that follows. Y pulls the rug out from under us, ushering in the second chorus with an ascending power note that gives the track so much oomph.

This turns out to be a tease for Fanfare’s brilliant bridge. After a brief slowdown, the song builds toward a series of layered power notes that vault the energy into the stratosphere. It’s a brilliant volley, building higher and higher until we reach sweet release. That climactic moment, when the Y/Joochan-powered apex gives way to trumpeting brass, is a highlight of Golden Child’s entire discography. It gives the song so much lift, leaving the listener with wind in their sails as Fanfare races toward its final chorus.

If this isn’t promoted as a follow-up to Ra Pam Pam, it’ll be a crime.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10



32 thoughts on “Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Fanfare

  1. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Bottom Of The Ocean | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Alright! Alright! ALRIGHT! This is the song which should’ve been the single! I think I’ll get that tattooed on my right arm…

    Sad to say Nick, This probably won’t be promoted as a follow-up. “” The title here expresses that it will be a b-side…

    Or we can convince Woollim through this comment section.. Come On Woollim! Atleast give the song its more-than-deserved Music Video!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am feeling cranky today. I think it is a very good song, but not great. The part that lets me down is the choice of instruments.

    Let me pick on one particular example: that brass sample. It starts the song, and then reappears in the outro as the climax of the song right at 2:30, and it is a copy paste for a full 20-30 seconds. Would it kill them to get a real trumpet? Same with the brass under the chorus – they are played there on a keyboard. How much better is SuJu’s Black Suit because they got real trumpets playing under the chorus? Or if not brass, how about that Korean traditional instrument that sounds like a cross between a trumpet and a kazoo, since the ample sounds close to its timbre? Why don’t they use that instead, a real one, give a small job to a musician.

    I didn’t list darling daughter’s English language frequent play list, but high on the list is Adele’s Skyfall. Why? Because brass. As a budding horn player, its super inspirational. Much better than when Mom turns up the classical station when some random Handel horn concerto is playing, and declares “hey girl, horn goals” and she goes “hmph”. There is a big fat tuba that comes to the front in the second verse, and its a killer. Some time ago, we heard the Buckingham Palace changing of the guard play “Skyfall” and it was awesome, resonating against the wall of the building.

    This? Its a sample. Its lazy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • If Yan Zaman is getting “this should have been the single” tattooed on their arm, I’ll volunteer for “would it kill them to get a real trumpet?” I played French Horn through grade school and college and am right with your kiddo on “Skyfall”.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, yes, we are brethren, aren’t we. Hauling around heavy, large expensive instruments for the love of it. Getting the case in and out of the back seat of the car every day is a feat.

        Would it kill them to get a real trumpet _especially_ for a song that is called “Fanfare”. One would think a song called “Fanfare” would have an actual fanfare going on.

        That said, re-listening to the song today in a slightly better mood, I’d give it mid 8’s. Its pretty good and funky and I think the funky bass is real, but to get to mid 9’s for me would require actual brass.

        (On a related note, I looked back to my comment on Twice song from June 2020 also called “Fanfare”, and I will toot my own horn for ranting consistency. I wrote: “OK I am swearing under my breath. My heart lifted when I saw the words “marching band” and “Fanfare”, and then the song did a bait and switch on us. Nearly none of this is actual marching band or actual horns. Its all synth crap. Noisy synth crap. If it weren’t so noisy I may have been able to listen to it long enough to consider it “fun”.
        Japan actually does have high school marching bands, and there is this one which is nearly all girls, the Kyoto Tachibana. They played the Rose Parade and Disneyland a few years ago. ‘ Very interesting fresh take on marching band choreo. Also a surprising mix of instruments (so many clarinets and flutes!) for a marching band compared to a US-one.”)

        Liked by 1 person

        • See, the sample doesn’t bother me at all. But then again, I have a strange affinity for synthesized brass. I don’t mean that farty brass sound that most K-pop uses… but this light, airy sound is right up my alley.


          • I’m definitely the opposite – I like synthesized brass if it’s really distorted (lol farty), but for the lighter stuff I prefer real instruments.


  4. The brass in the bridge really sealed the deal for me. I’ve largely ignored golden child , and I’m done disrespecting them. I’ve gotta see what I’ve been missing out on

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this song, and the choreo on the performance clip is pretty breathtaking. Favorite song on the album, up there with my favorites Lately and Round and Round.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Singing In The Rain | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. These days I have realized my requirements for a great dance track are very different from many other blog regulars. Reach Out Your Hands is barely an 8 or so for me, and Breathe is just ‘good’. Thus, I came into Fanfare with low expectations, and have been pleasantly surprised. Overall, this is probably Golcha’s worst comeback since their ‘cute boy’ days, but those always had great b-sides. Fanfare is no Eyes on You or Lately, but I enjoy it nonetheless 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Game | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  9. I really like Fanfare. It’s bold of me to say now, but it might be the CODE of this album (SHINEE). I can’t say I know if I’ll listen to this further, but it’s got an amazing melody, a knock-out chorus and incredible energy. The second verse has egregious vocal effects that turn me off a bit, but the pre-chorus afterwards just bolsters on anyway.

    None of the brass bothers me, but that’s because I can’t tell the difference. Regardless, I can tell it could’ve been cooler if it was a genuine sax/trumpet solo. The sample is still good though.


  10. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Spell | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  11. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Out The Window | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  12. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – Poppin’ | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  13. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – That Feeling | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  14. Pingback: Golden Child GAME CHANGER: In-Depth Album Review – I Know | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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