At times, Everglow have been a frustrating prospect. I mean, you can’t release a track as awesome as La Di Da and never return to that sound! Too often, their title tracks have borrowed some of my least favorite elements from K-pop’s boy groups. And listening to previews for new single Pirate, I assumed the song would be all bluster. I’m a staunch advocate for silly weirdness in K-pop, but feared this track would rely too heavily on its cartoonish catchphrase.
I’m very happy to be proven wrong. Pirate is a bizarre little delight, melding together so many of Everglow’s sounds with a boisterous EDM beat reminiscent of older girl groups like T-ara and 2NE1. I’m still not sure I buy the pirate theme as it relates to self-empowerment (do girls really want to be pirates? Does anyone??), and that repeated line is stupidly silly. But, Everglow embrace the madness and make it easy for listeners to do so as well. It helps that Pirate’s teasers ended up being quite misleading. They hid the song’s fantastic chorus, which pulses with pop drama over a rumbling club beat. This refrain is echoed by the synth line, which employs a brighter sound than I’d expected. These elements make Pirate feel more “fun” than “self-serious,” and that distinction is so important.
You wouldn’t know any of this from Pirate’s first thirty seconds. The song takes a bit to get going, but once the melody starts to climb it never looks back. Its disparate pieces fit together surprisingly well, driven by Everglow’s effortless charisma. I have no idea how Pirate will age, but for now this is my kind of K-pop crazy.