Review

Song Review: fromis_9 – DM

fromis_9 - DMUpon joining Pledis Entertainment (and therefore, HYBE), interest in fromis_9 has surged. Thankfully, this occurs as the group are enjoying a musical resurgence as purveyors of frothy disco pop. On a personal note, I have a newfound appreciation for member Nagyung, who took a very dark turn in the recent Shadow Beauty web series. It’s almost hard to reconcile that character with DM’s upbeat pop sound!

The girls have found a winning formula with this brand of disco vs. city pop vs. straightforward K-pop bop. DM doesn’t stretch itself in interesting ways, but it knows how to deliver a fizzy head rush. (This seems to be a trend in today’s releases, huh?) The song opts for a slightly more mature energy than past titles, confidently unveiling a new era for fromis_9. The producers get every genre trope correct, leaving little room for surprise. This is both a benefit and a drawback depending on your expectations.

Fortunately, DM hinges on a strong chorus. I love melodies that introduce themselves with big, sweeping hooks. The track could’ve been content to exist as another head-nodding city pop pastiche, but that chorus bolts it to another level. It’s the centerpiece so many of these songs are missing. The synth accents that follow are gorgeous and should have been used more judiciously throughout the arrangement. Instead, DM chugs along on the momentum of its vibe, unwilling to dirty things up for a funkier affair. In this way, it’s a little sanitized. But, I can’t say I’m not sold on its brisk energy.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

14 thoughts on “Song Review: fromis_9 – DM

  1. I hope it’s okay to sort of comment this here as a sort of catch-all comment for today’s releases – Your point about the trend in today’s tracks (aside from Taeyeon’s which was different in its approach) being straightforward songs that deliver a ‘fizzy head rush’ (love this phrase!) hits the nail on the head. I don’t think I remember a day in the recent past where we’ve had so many unapologetically fun/happy songs being released at the same time by so many artists. I’ve had an absolutely great day checking out all these songs, this is exactly what I want when I’m just listening to music that puts a smile on my face. I would be hard-pressed to pick a particular favorite right off the bat – I’m just very satisfied with all the releases today.

    That aside, fromis_9 in particular have been a revelation of sorts for me from just before their move to Pledis. They deliver this kind of song really well, and while at first listen I don’t think it’s as ebullient as We Go was last year – one of my favorite girl group releases – this is still capturing that brightness and the retro feels are great. Very happy to see them having consistent comebacks, I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It feels like a mix between Feel Good and Talk&Talk. I feel like after that long hiatus years ago, fromis_9 have found a sound (&producer) that works and stuck to it which is lovely to see.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I really wanted to like this song but so far nothing.It wasn’t exactly boring…It has all the necessary elements but felt a bit lifeless to me. I know they have good vocals but compared to some of the other gg cbs this month that caught me on first listen or atleast intrigued me enough to take a closer look, this doesn’t quite do it for me. Hopefully the stages would give me a different perspective! 🙂

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  4. I’m glad to see that Pledis/HYBE have been continuing to push fromis_9! They kind of dominated my 2021, with We Go and Talk & Talk among my most played releases of the year, and I’m glad that DM is continuing them on the same sort of energy. I definitely agree with what you said about melodies that introduce themselves with big, sweeping hooks! Choruses that start that way are especially thrilling and buoyant to me. While the song doesn’t really deviate from expectations, I appreciate the consistent, upbeat energy through the track, and I expect this to have great longevity for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This upbeat, glossy funk-based style has been a real winner or Fromis in their past few comebacks and I’m glad their gonna continue to do it. Like JKLMON it’s crazy how many of today’s releases have so been unapologetically cheerful. It’s a fun contrast from the usual trends of recent kpop times and hope it’s a sign of what’s to come.

    Also, the accompanying mini for this song is pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Solid three stars from me – I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s nice. That sounds super underwhelming, but there’s nothing wrong with a nice solid three star track (except for that damn pre-chorus snare that’s been haunting me for months now). From the EP, “Escape Room” felt like a watered down “DM” and made me want to skip to the better track. “Love Is Around” is a lovely ballad and feels like it’s got potential to grow on me, especially with the acoustic guitar and piano that might actually be a piano but maybe not.* “Hush Hush” and “0g” are a little more R&B and pleasant enough if that’s your thing. There’s some interesting bits in the instrumental – electric guitar? – of the latter that makes it my only four star song on the EP on first listen.

    *I recently learned that my spouse’s music-to-color synesthesia means he can almost always tell what instrument he’s listening to so I’m going to play this for him later and see what he says.

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  7. Those notes at the end of the song really caught me off guard. I feel like Kpop doesn’t utilize whistle notes nearly as much as western pop does.

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  8. You know, I wasn’t sold on this at first— I was thinking, okay it’s more city pop— but when it hit that first “doesn’t matter” in the chorus, I fell in love. I love that hook, it just soars. This song is a real pick me up. Let’s go fromis!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was really looking forward to this drop. The teasers (which used the main hook) sank the barbs deep into me. In fact, it landed a little too well with me because I couldn’t get the hook out of my head for a couple of days. When the full song arrived, I was hungry for it.

    Because K-Pop usually expects girls to sing way above normal scales, most songs end up with nasal drenched falsetto tones. With this song, apart from the usual f_9 fair, we get treated to some of the girls singing in lower/natural registers at some points. The song starts with Nagyung and Seoyeon singing at least one octave lower than normal. It gets really noticed @1:35 when Jisun drops down to her normal levels (love her natural tone), and then @1:50 by Seoyeon (great tone as well). Tie all of that into music that will make me involuntarily dance in my seat while listening through pods in a waiting room, which will then guarantee social distancing from people trying to avoid “the weirdo”, and I can say with relative certainty that this song may have saved my life!

    Okay, back on Earth.. ..is the song, creatively, a masterpiece? Nope. But for me, it checked a lot of boxes. From the infectious hook to the much appreciated vocal variety to the fact that I’ve recently become a big fan. It all amounts to a song I’ll be bobbling my head to over the next several weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a playlist called “Helium”.

      Yes, those low notes at 1:35 are rather nice, D#3. Its the same melody as the latter lines in the chorus such as at 1:04, except an octave lower.

      My problem with the way the song is pitched is that it takes advantage of an octave up / an octave down. The consequence is that the main chorus note is then a high E5 which every single time is a whiny strainy timbre, including the main belt note at the bridge at 2:46. Its just not a good sound. Its back to the Helium playlist sound. And they are never going to hit it live without in-mic pitch correction, its going to be a nasally flat note, that is if they ever sing it live live.

      I think it would have been better to pitch the entire song down a third so that that high note is a more comfortable high C5, skip the octave down / octave up bit, instead have the young ladies who can sing the lower notes just sing it the D#’s at a B2. Plenty of songs are pitched so that the main high note is nice and comfortable and achievable for the singer, why they didn’t do it here was a choice. I suspect the love for IU and her equally strainy Three High Notes have something to do with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s safe, for the industry as a whole, to move on from the whole “infantilization” of females schtick. There are plenty of ways to encapsulate pureness and innocence without putting them all in diapers and making them sing in the “kazoo” range.

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  10. This was a really strong comeback in my opinion and arguably, fromis_9’s best comeback song! The vocals are incredible especially that whistle note in the final chorus!love the retro/funky city pop beat as well, I think this could be the song that will make fromis_9 big! Well that’s my honest thoughts and opinions on the song!

    Liked by 3 people

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