LOONA’s Japanese debut Hula Hoop has no music video, and there doesn’t seem to be one forthcoming. This usually means I skip writing about the song unless I’m ridiculously enthused or enraged. But, enough of you asked for a review and today’s a slow K-pop day. So, here we are!
Like so many recent idol tracks, Hula Hoop is co-written by the prolific Ryan Jhun. He’s currently embroiled in some controversy, which spawned an uncomfortable Twitter meltdown and cast a bit of a shadow over this song. However, Hula Hoop’s enthusiasm is too bright to extinguish. After a few edgier tracks, we’re back to the hyper energy of LOONA’s Hi High era. I came around to that song eventually, despite having a low threshold for chanty, chirpy affectations. They’re still not my preferred style for a girl group, but they make sense here.
In alignment with its title, Hula Hoop’s chorus twirls around, revolving with a wave of high-pitched exclamations. Again… not my favorite approach. But, I like how the vocalization expresses the unsteady motion of its subject.
Other segments within the track recall the quirky synthpop of groups like WJSN. Hula Hoop is at its strongest when fusing the girls’ voices together in a fizzy headrush. These moments bring needed focus to the musical frenzy. The song’s “city pop” version (also included on the EP) builds upon this approach in a more streamlined way, removing the incessant exclamations and digging into the meat of its melody. I prefer that arrangement, even if we lose some of the energy in the transformation.