Review

Song Review: LIGHTSUM – Vivace

Lightsum - Vivace
LIGHTSUM’s spring debut showed promise, but it’s hard to predict the future of a group based upon a single song. First comebacks are equally important for a rookies, and often give a clearer indication which direction their sound will take. If Vivace is any indication, LIGHTSUM are aiming for the vacancy left by IZ*ONE.

When it comes to songs of this style, my mind is currently in an uninspired place. I apologize if my critiques feel cut-and-paste from other reviews. The problem is, the songs themselves feel cut and paste. Vivace does many things well, but those individual aspects feel like scraps from already-existing material. Like the vast majority of girl group singles in 2021, Vivace stuffs every ounce of its frame with vocal exclamations, fitful percussion, and stray melodic lines. There’s no room for the track to breathe. It doesn’t pause to convey any ideas of its own. It’s just one vaguely melodic affectation after another. This style of songwriting must appeal to someone, but for me it only results in a song that fades from memory moments after hearing it.

On the plus side, Vivace brings robust synth lines into its instrumental mix. The segments that draw most heavily upon this texture are successful, and deserve a sleek melody or rap to compliment their sound. It’s strange — there’s too much going on in the track, yet at the same time not enough. The moments that hit are sharp and exciting, which makes me wish for more of them. But too often, the song careens into a dreaded sing-talk segment where the girls trade lines with great speed but little impact. And really, that phrase describes the entire song. It’s brisk and fun, but doesn’t leave any memorable aftertaste.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75

21 thoughts on “Song Review: LIGHTSUM – Vivace

  1. I agree there is just something off about this. And my god I have literally begun bracing my body as songs’ first Choruses finishes expecting the dreaded removal of all pace and beat for a rap break. Groups know you can rap on top of a fast paced instrumental right? Lol. Anyway, are you going to review the 4 Girls Planet 999 original songs? They just released studio versions of them – I thought 2 were quite good

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I find it pretty hilarious that Cube just said “fuck it” and ripped IZONE’s entire identity. It’ll probably be a smart decision in the long run considering they do a decent job of filling the hole left by IZONE’s disbandment.

    That being said…this track is pretty forgettable. Not only does it sound identical to IZONE’s titles from Fiesta onward but it’s lacks less punch than those tracks did. They weren’t really super good but I remember them all having pretty decent hooks which this song heavily lacks. I agree with you on the production as well. This song feels just as busy as any Itzy song yet it still manages to be quite dull and one note throughout. Just bells and whistles with no real direction or purpose.

    Wishing the best for the girls though, they were a VERY talented bunch. Hopefully they evolve and explore this sound enough to make it their own going forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And costume design of the year goes to… (but seriously, I love this style of suit-dresses.) RIP dimples—the style of video didn’t allow for a lot of Huiyeon smiling.

    I hope companies learn that instrumentals that sound like they were recorded inside of a giant tin can aren’t necessarily the best choice for pop songs. I had a similar bone to pick with most of IZ*ONE’s songs.

    There are some lovely vocal tones in this group. I like the one with the pearl headband’s voice in particular.

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  4. Overall, it is definitely quite a forgettable and bland track, I prefer Vanilla a lot more. I definitely agree with the IZ*ONE comparison, though compared to the IZ*ONE title tracks this one is much less exciting and lacks any good hooks. It’s ironic (or perhaps fitting?) that it appears Lightsum’s aiming to fill the hole left by IZ*ONE, when Chowon’s part of the lineup…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What disappointed me the most about this song the chorus. It opened up really strong with Chowon and then just meandered wherever until it stumbled upon the “VIVACE”. Speaking of Chowon, I hate that they even made her do some of that bright exclamation, it just doesn’t work here as it did in “Vanilla”.
    I personally don’t mind a group taking the place of Izone ( they are disbanded after all and their sound had potential).

    Some people might hate me for this, but I wish groups of this size could make good use of all of their members. It seems like only Chowon, Nayoung, Juhyeon,and Yujeong are ever going to sing. Hina, and Huiyeon have done only one off cutesy lines in both songs so far while Sangah and Jian have been regulated to the rap position ( They sound just fine but the raps in both songs were just okay and it’s not like they wrote them either).

    Are these members incapable of singing the way the others can? You have no evidence from the two singles to think otherwise. I know they’re working really hard and I have no hate for them but we shouldn’t have so many members in a group who will not get the chance to shine. Obviously, Cube seems to want to promote the members who’ve been exposed before a little more, I completely get that. The thing I’m asking for doesn’t need to be a whole bunch of lines throughout the song, rather just a small section in a verse when they can show off a little.

    one off line worked with large groups like SNSD, 9muses, and ot8 oh my girl, (you could even add Gugudan and twice to that list) because those lines were long enough and not always affected so you can actually hear their voices and appreciate them. At the very least, the lines were memorable/catchy when affected. Granted some of the groups I mentioned didn’t get to this point until after a few singles so I’m still going to have hope for Lightsum.

    It’s funny how they seemed to be aiming for a similar sound to Izone as they also had this problem ( probably worse). There’s nothing wrong with not having all the members have distinct voices just let me hear em. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have as much of a problem with this if the songs were just stronger. Right now, if I didn’t already love (Nayoung, Chowon, and juhyeon) I probably wouldn’t even care where Lightsum’s career was going.

    And yes, I understand some members for their variety skills, language skills, visuals, etc. I feel like what i’m asking for would be beneficial for people who listen casually and not so much the true die hard fans which these members will help create.

    Again no hate to any of the girls I called out, I just want to make this clear. I honestly don’t even hate the song (or affected/cutesy performance like Nick), but because of Nayoung, Chowon, and juhyeon I just want the best and I will not dellude myself into thinking anything they realease is so if it isn’t.

    All in all, I feel like some groups just have members in order to fill up the stage rather than to sing which to me isn’t unbelievable because this generation is so focused on performance. Hopefully in the coming years we move out of this phase in kpop or at least introduce more straight forward performance.

    Sorry for writing so much….😅

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I might be the only person with this opinion which is the exact opposite of everyone here – I loved Vivace infinite times more than Vanilla!! 😂

    Honestly Lightsum had one of the most forgettable debuts of 2021 so far for me. I don’t think I can say I completely dislike Vanilla because there was never a point I even though about it long enough to form an opinion. So you could say I had negative expectations for their comeback because I had no impression at all.

    But Vivace completely blew me away!!! ❤️❤️ Honestly I love every moment of that song. It gives me a low-key Gfriend + Twice vibe and their charming performance in the live showcase sealed it for me! I really really loved this song! I want to hear it again!! I want to pay closer attention to the members now!

    Vanilla pushed me completely away from the group but Vivace has pulled me in hook,line and sinker!🤗

    I don’t know if my music taste is weird because I didn’t find this bland or unmemorable like other comments here. I can’t even say I’m biased because I really wasn’t interested in the group at all prior to this. 😅 I loved Vivace much more than a lot of the other recently popular gg songs and this has definitely put Lightsum on my radar now!💎

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    • Cannot agree with you any more! I love this song very much. I even introduce it to some firends. And the result is they all love it. I don’t understand those adstract music theroies. I just feel Vivace is so lucid and coherent better than those strange ones as if many parts are built together mechanically.

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  7. Kpop really cranks these kinds of groups out. I agree with everyone above = This one sounds like this year’s version of IzOne’s Fiesta, which was last year’s version of a WJSN or GWSN or whatever group came just before.

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  8. I really like this song… though I didn’t realize it sounds like an IZ*ONE rip until after I read this review. Though that doesn’t bother me because Panorama is my favorite IZ*ONE song and I enjoy the kind of chaotic/clunky instrumental paired with the girls’ voices.

    I appreciate something that’s not girl crush from a new group and I hope as time goes on they’ll develop vocally. Cube’s other groups have good vocals so I assume they will be the same, once they get a little more confident (this applies both to the performers and also the composers and decision makers for the group’s direction).

    That said idk why I care so much since after CLC and my beloved Triple H I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of a Cube group again.

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  9. Semi-related – this popped up on my feed this morning. KittiB “ADHD”. Now this is a bratty performance I can get behind. If the recent girl groups releases are overthought, overworked, overproduced and overpolished, this one is blissfully slightly underpolished to sound almost like you and she are shouting along to a song on a midfi stereo in your bedroom.

    Plus electric guitar.

    I’ve heard her stuff in the past, but this is the first time it has really landed for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I liked this too, although I did not playlist it because I have a pet peeve about using mental health terms casually. I did playlist “Messed Up” – I like the bluesy guitar and she managed a sufficiently “lounge singer who’s seen some shit” vibe to pull off the mood of the song.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yah yah Izone soundalike , cut copy paste – it is what it is It actually inspired me to revisit the Izone discog which is has so many goodies and hidden gems mixed in there, IMO…

    I think they’re great performers and yesterday that part sold me on the whole package,,, but the song alone is not so strong. but could be! The talented members will have me listening to this and watching the stages, maybe even some variety spots— but I will still be a bit disappointed.

    The rushed jam-packed chorus definitely NEEDS to be improved upon and we would have something pretty awesome. Especially Suhyeon’s chorus line which is cut off by Nayoung’s following line.
    Her affectation on the “chumeul chwo” is a nice inclusion, reminds me of Seunghee’s chorus bit in Dun dun Dance. But cutting it off makes it essentially un-singalong-able and covers up the interesting affectation!!! what gives.

    I LOVED when WJSN was doing their sophisticated concepts, As You Wish Era. but that is miles beyond Vivace. If more Izone style songs veered more in that direction, I’d be much happier. full voice singing!

    I am in the camp of preferring Vanilla. That song was obnoxious!! this doesn’t even have that going for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I went back and forth on playlisting “VIVACE” – I don’t like it as much as I liked “Vanilla” but it’s a solid enough dance track, and unlike some other recent releases, I like that it *mostly* keeps the same energy going throughout. I like the brassy synths in the post-chorus although I wish they were either slightly more distorted or real brass. I did not have to go back and forth on playlisting “Popcorn”, however. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve heard a solid bubblegum track that doesn’t slip into the ‘summer song’ or ‘tropical’ sounds. This is a solid three minutes of mood-boosting goodness and I’m here for it (even if it does remind me overly much of a less melodic version of AleXa’s “Rule the World” in parts).

    Like

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