It’s not often that we see duos debut in K-pop, especially those who aren’t already related to an existing group or survival series. Lilli lilli’s name is stylized to look like a barcode, which matches the theme of their debut. I’m not sure what this is all supposed to mean, but it’s nice to see an unusual configuration in K-pop. Eagle-eyed fans might also recognize member Luce, formerly of short-lived girl group P.O.P.
Like many recent tracks, Barcode kicks off with a ton of potential. The whistling synth is a little grating, but the thundering percussion promises a hard-hitting sound. The opening verse blends funky guitar with a nimble beat, speeding along with great energy. With only two voices driving the melody, the performance gets a chance to really settle in. And though there aren’t any moments that feel unique or surprising, the vocal is confident.
Sadly, Barcode succumbs to a dull drop-style chorus. Melody filters out, replaced by hulking percussion that kills most of the song’s momentum. A welcome flourish of brass points toward more thrilling directions, but Barcode never pulls itself free from this murky misstep. It’s a shame, because when the track gets going it’s quite enjoyable. There’s just too much set-up and too little pay-off. With only two members, it makes sense that the producers would want to clear space for focus on dance (and a chance for the girls to catch their breath!), but despite a fun second verse rap, Barcode struggles to pull its ideas together.