Song Review: HyunA & Dawn – Ping Pong

HyunA & Dawn - Ping PongWatching the competition show LOUD has renewed my interest in P Nation and its artists. The agency is already stacked with major talent, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. And the series’ reinterpretations of popular songs have showcased the creativity at the core of P Nation’s ethos. It’s disappointing, then, when their output settles for ideas and structures that feel reductive.

Ping Pong pairs HyunA and Dawn – a real life couple and a whirlwind of explosive charisma. Their energy alone guarantees this song some merit. It’s aptly named, as the duo ping pong off each other for crackling verses that swerve between rap and vocals. Driven by an exciting moombahton beat peppered with splashes of brass, the playful vibe is perfectly in keeping with both performers’ personal style. They don’t land many killer punches, but all their little moments forge together to create a powerful wave of personality.

Unfortunately, Ping Pong is undercut by a lazy beat drop chorus. This squeaky synth and chant-along hook has been done to death, and lacks the bite a song like this deserves. HyunA and Dawn are far more interesting than this chorus lets on. I’ve got nothing against a beat drop, especially when every moment of the verse is building tension toward an inevitable release. But given the title “Ping Pong,” there had to be a way to refashion the sounds of an actual ping pong match into inventive rhythm. Maybe the producers didn’t want to go that literal, but instead we end up with a centerpiece that feels like a placeholder. Thankfully, everything surrounding this vacuum is firing on all cylinders.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

10 thoughts on “Song Review: HyunA & Dawn – Ping Pong

  1. It was after the second time I truly loved both it as musical piece and how they’re pulling a bit of a Lil Nas X in the spirit of ‘oh, anything we do together is going to be seen as an OTT spectacle? Well then LET’S GIVE THEM A SPECTACLE!’ It’s obnoxious, tacky, loud & a sensory overload but I also think that’s what makes it perfect,

    Given everything they’ve been through career wise and how much Hyuna’s image – both from cube and from fan projection – has been being a bombshell this comeback and INC (Lip and Hip too perhaps?) really find her rejecting that. Hyuna is still this gorgeous woman with features and all that align with conventional attractiveness so I feel like it’s subversive – and probably freeing – for her to reject just being pretty in that way all the time and I think Dawn matches her energy perfectly & holds his own here.

    Truly, the only thing I’d change is the length – I know under 3 minutes is optimized for streaming but I think the song could’ve used a little extra of something in one of the places but I’m unsure where – a second back & forth between them for verse 2? Or another chorus refrain after the bridge maybe? – but I definitely buying what they’re selling wholesale.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Aww, they’re adorable together. It’s more spectacle than song but so enjoyable to watch. Also, HyunA is just gorgeous, like really gorgeous. And that is my incisive commentary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • K-Pop is filled with beautiful, beautiful people, but I agree that HyunA is one of those that stands out from the crowd. I loved the stage from last night and hope they get as many more as they can handle. She and Dawn both have stage presence for miles – they’re just so much fun to watch.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t hate the song, but musically, I’m not sure they work all that well as a duo. They both have very idiosyncratic voices that I imagine can be pretty hit or miss for people, and in combination I think Hui was the smooth, creamy sauce that balanced them out in Triple H. Or maybe the retro genre just works better for Dawn – “Ping Pong” looks and sounds like a Hyuna track (the MV is very “I’m Not Cool” and the chorus is very “Roll Deep”) that Dawn sort of wandered into and decided to grab half of the verses for funzies.

    That said, I will watch them perform as many times as they want to and even just the one stage has the song growing on me already. Looks like someone figured out how to get custom-printed masks that meet whatever requirements are currently in place – I think this is the first show in a couple of weeks at least where the dancers weren’t stuck with black or white.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I prefer their independent material. To me, they are ‘trapped’ creatively whenever they are together. Wasted look and ‘joker and harley quinn’ vibes. This song is not for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think this is lazy and self-indulgent.

    An actual sampled ping pong ball sound would have been a good addition. The opening sample sounds like a tongue clicking sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They are fun to watch, but i don’t even remember the song. I don’t like I’m Not Cool, and at least I remember the chorus. Holding out for a Triple H or Troublemaker reboot.


  7. I’m never going to listen to this song on its own, but I’m loving their live performances. They both look genuinely happy on stage and are overflowing with charisma. The colors and outfits are a blast too. It reminds me of K-Pop before everything had to be dark and edgy. It’s just fun and makes me smile, so it makes the comeback a winner in my book even if I don’t care for the song itself.

    Liked by 2 people

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