Song Review: bugAboo – bugAboo

Bugaboo - BugabooThe trend of producers creating idol groups continues with the debut of bugAboo, the second group under Ryan Jhun’s A Team label. As such, their music comes courtesy of Jhun himself, a proven hitmaker in the industry. Their cutesy group name (which just happens to be one of my childhood nicknames…) seems to promise an equally saccharine sound. But, self-titled debut track bugAboo is a pleasant surprise.

I’ve had a tenuous relationship with girl group songs this year. The industry’s overriding musical trends aren’t for me, and so many of the groups I tended to love have either disbanded (GFriend) or seem to be heading that way (Lovelyz). New faces and new ideas are very welcome, especially when bolstered by a great producer. BugAboo doesn’t quite get there, but it’s a promising first step for the group.

I can almost feel the tension within the song. So many of its segments want to swerve into that chanty, Bratz Doll-esque sound that drives me crazy, but the tautness of the track never lets that happen. Verse one is hit or miss, with some cringey sing-talk marring what could have been a sleek, dynamic melody. But, the pre-chorus soon sweeps in to pull us back on track. Then, bugAboo unleashes a great series of brassy loops as we launch into the chorus. The melody here is catchy and the performance is restrained, opting for a concentrated burst of dance pop rather than a series of disconnected refrains. This sense of focus is greatly appreciated, and makes the track hit harder than expected. I also like the cool transition into the bridge. It’s rare that a K-pop instrumental genuinely surprises me anymore, but the production here is pretty slick. If this is any indication, bugAboo seem to be a rookie to keep our eyes on.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

15 thoughts on “Song Review: bugAboo – bugAboo

  1. “Prick or Bugaboo”?! That’s the full name of this song that they are promoting it under. Another fine debut spoiled by suboptimal English. Did they really not google “prick” from someone, anyone, in an English speaking country? Us, Uk, Aus, anyone?
    Its also at 1:32 on Nick’s link above.

    Bad name aside, the song meets expectations.


  2. I think this is really solid.
    Ryan Jhun has produced almost every GG title track this year. an insane amount.

    How does he stay so prolific? It’s impressive. I don’t hear as much of a distinctive sound in his work as BEP or Brave Bros, but his ubiquity and presence over the years is undeniable.

    What I like is that the best elements of his last two solo tracks (with NCT and LOONA) are in this song, but I think this is a bit more streamlined.

    The bridge is nicely chromatic and even with the bass sound being a little trendy for my taste, I think the whole package is great!
    Second spin of this tune won me over


  3. very promising debut! I love the sound they went for and I hope Ryan is consistent (or even better) with the girls’ future releases.


    • Doubt they will. Unlike GFRIEND, who I feel like wasn’t a true necessity for HYBE especially with a sleuth of new GGs coming soon, Oh My Girl is the cash cow of WM by a long shot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m a Miracle, and WM’s situation doesn’t look good in the long run after the acquisition by RBW. Heard some news that WM’s CEO has been changed into RBW’s people. I don’t feel good but let’s wait for it though…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Can’t lie I initially thought the RBW acquisition wouldn’t effect much but apparently WM’s predebut GG “Dream Tree” let go of all their trainees. Pretty upset that RBW seems to be changing things over there.


  4. I was just waiting for the aegyo to come especially with the babe of the group. The production is like a dance track in the wild west during an Alien invasion. I’m quite impressed with the song, I just wish the “bug to the a to the boo” part had more power to it. As always it’s nice to see a produce contestant (choyeon) debut.


  5. I LIKE IT. This brassy funk sound is one of my FAVORITE things in kpop, so I knew I was gonna like this from the second it started but that hook is truly great. The “bug to the a to the boo” is a bit cheesy but that’s it. Great song.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ve been underwhelmed with the girl group output this year, but suddenly this month we’ve got great offerings from, DreamNote, and now bugAboo. I don’t think this will be in my top three of the month, but it’s still a lot of fun, and I’m curious to see what they do with it on the shows.


  7. Also, my brain was convinced that bugaboo is a racial slur but google says it isn’t so I guess I’m confusing it with something else.


  8. This has been growing on me in a big way after watching a few stages – the members have fantastic stage presence and the choreo is refreshingly creative. Someone commented about every gg doing the “bend with hands on each other’s back” canon, so they’re like, “okay, how about we do a seated swing with our feet on each other’s shoulders?” Add styling leaning in the goth-punk direction and I think this might be my favorite gg debut of the year.


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