After nearly a year away, the newly-debuted/rebranded Blackswan have returned with their second single. Given the constraints of their agency, this alone is a huge accomplishment. I often wonder how these mid-to-smaller agencies are making things work during the pandemic. As far as I know, in-person appearances account for much of an idol group’s revenue, and without a huge album-buying fanbase, funding for these smaller groups must be tight. Kudos to the girls for keeping at it.
You can definitely hear the strain in Close To You. The song comes across as generic, through no fault of Blackswan themselves. The production feels somewhat workaday, and the music video definitely cuts corners. Yet, I’m pleased to hear the song fully commit to its intentions. Rather than overstuff the instrumental, the club-ready beat is sleek and satisfying. Yes, we’ve heard this exact dancefloor thump a million times before, but the groove is given more room to breathe than most recent girl group tracks. I’m especially fond of the post-chorus refrain – probably because it reminds me of other dance songs I prefer.
Sadly, Close To You succumbs to a piecemeal approach that blunts its overall effectiveness. While the verses seem to promise one thing, the pre-chorus and chorus pull us into a different song entirely. Neither of these melodies hit with the force or catchiness I would have hoped, though the girls do what they can to make the segments spark. Close To You is a valiant effort, and stronger than you might expect. But, I much prefer last year’s Tonight.