It’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.
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.