2021 continues to be light on girl group releases, with the sheer number of boy group comebacks dominating K-pop’s schedule. I’m not sure why this is, but August feels particularly lopsided. Red Velvet, Brave Girls and Weeekly are pretty much holding things down.
Throwing their hat into the ring is brand new group Hi-L. They hail from the generically-titled K-Pop Live Entertainment (formerly A100 Entertainment), also home to XUM (formerly Neon Punch). The amount of “formerlys” in that sentence doesn’t bode well for the agency’s ability to keep anything going for longer than a few months, but they’ve given Hi-L a solid debut track. Too Too is a slight effort, but it’s cute and catchy and performed well.
The track hits immediately with its percolating tropical loop. This sound isn’t novel, but it’s bright and well-suited for the summer. I appreciate how this element provides a through-line across the entire verse, lending the song great consistency. As the girls trade between vocals and rap, the transition is seamless and satisfying. The production switches up for the pre-chorus, but we’re back at it when Too Too unveils its central hook. This melody is catchy from the get-go – simple but very effective. That tropical loop continues to anchor the instrumental, even when verse two pulls back on the energy. The result is pleasant and addicting. I’m not sure Too Too will win any awards for originality, but that’s not the point. This is fun pop fluff with hooks to spare.
The bones of the song are actually pretty good. The girls are fine.
What I marvel at though is the how some kpop agencies think that there is enough of a market for this sound and look to keep launching and relaunching concepts like this. I mean, this really is this year’s Neon Punch for this agency. Or XUM. I have honestly lost track.
I went back to the two Neon Punch songs I own, and those were also pretty good songs, with a fine performance. So its not quality per se, its just the nth in this space with a finite promotional budget.
If I were to advise the agency, I would say that they may as well try out some fast fashion with cat meme stickers concept which is equally oversupplied. Darling daughter was crushed that she is only allowed one (1) sticker on her new school-issued chromebook. What about all the others, mom? That she has so much surface area on the new horn case has not occurred to her (nor am I telling her).
the song sounds very solid and i really like the girls’ voices! haven’t heard about them before, but this made me want to check them out.
i think the only problem is that… well. it holds too little identity, i guess. i think this song could be performed by both weeekly and lightsum, and we would get an equally good result. i KNOW that they just have a similar sound for now, but i wish this song had something distinctive and that could support the girls for the long run. anyways, considering neonpunch/xum’s history, i wonder if the company even has a “long run” in mind for these girls.
still, the song is an 8 imo for now. good vocals, nice production, and i have the feeling i will want more of it for at least the rest of this week.
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I did know where you’d stand on this. I love the performance but I figured you’d find the chorus super repetitive. I wish they had one chorus in unison, one with the girls singing an octave apart, and one in harmony. That would’ve pushed it over the edge for me
The snark master in me immediately thought “Bold of you to assume they can sing an octave apart”.
In theory yes.
In practice, the chorus is about E4 to C#5, so it is perfect range for ordinary singing. But in the right wrong range for the typical kpop girl group to do an octave apart. No one except the high high sopranos, the Sohyangs of the world, could do the octave higher. (and the guys in Forestella. Also Kim Jong Kook, him with the strangely high voice that does not match body type.)
As for an octave lower, there are a few girl groups – G-idle comes to mind – but not many.
What they would have to do is lower the whole song down by a good 4 whole notes or so down to around A3 to F#4 to add a high parallel octave. Or raise it by a good 4 whole notes or so to around A4 to F#5 to add the low parallel octave. Oh My Girl might be able to pull these off.
Forestella does parallel octaves all the time. Neat trick.
I remembered much later – Jeong Sewoon’s “In the Dark” from Jan21, he harmonizes with himself an octave apart. It is a neat effect.
I totally just thought of it in terms of the song. I never actually a considered if they could do it or not. I really appreciate you breaking it down to me.
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A tad too generic for me to enjoy, but it’s not too bad (or Too Too (22) Bad), even if the second verse is pretty terrible.
Also, today, BlueRasberrySyrup posted the second review in the K-Pop Songs of the Summer series, please check her review out, it is great!
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This sounds to me a lot like “I’m So Sick” without its sleek, sultry charms. I’d actually been singing that over the song while it was playing, lol.
unrelated but i saw red velvet’s teasers just right now. we’re finally getting a “red” track y’all!