Review

Song Review: Apink – Dilemma

Apink - DilemmaIt’s been two years since Apink had a proper comeback, though they’ve released music since then. New full-length Horn is deemed a “special” album, which usually means limited promotion. But, it’s great to have the group back with hit-making production team Black Eyed Pilseung. Though I wasn’t as effusive as others when it came to 2019 single Eung Eung, the song topped many year-end lists and represented the sound of a girl group maturing musically — almost a decade into their career.

Dilemma follows a similar template, though it borrows equally from 2018’s excellent I’m So Sick. Plenty of K-pop groups are opting for mood pieces this year and when Dilemma’s firing on all cylinders, it has them all beat. Black Eyed Pilseung are experts at finding just the right synth tones for the job, and the squiggly riff that ornaments this chorus is pure bliss. It’s followed by an equally dynamic melody that ensures the ladies aren’t upstaged by their own production.

Dilemma gets off on the right foot, opening with a brisk beat underlined by seesawing synth that keeps the listener on guard. The pre-chorus is more predictable, but I enjoy the inclusion of guitar. Sadly, the track collapses in its second verse. I really thought K-pop was moving past these tempo-shifting verses, but Dilemma’s is especially flagrant. On its own, there’s nothing wrong with the arrangement. It’s moody and interesting. But, it feels ripped from another track entirely. Dilemma is compelling enough to rest on its own strengths. Musical diversions only dull its overall effect. Thankfully, that dynamic chorus is always lurking right around the corner.

Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

27 thoughts on “Song Review: Apink – Dilemma

  1. Even though I really do stan STAYC, I’m verty glad to see BEP working with other artists again.
    I find his collab’s with Apink unstoppable, surpassing their work with Twice, and probably just as great as the SISTAR stuff.

    I’m so glad this came out and is as good as it is. The trap 2nd verse is a bummer though.
    Anyway, the vibes, the music, the personality in the vocal performances…
    top top top

    love it

    Liked by 1 person

      • i totally forgot that BEP was behind that incredible Chungha single run.
        even though I listen to those songs often!
        that would be perfect. That 2018/2019 BEP era is what pulled me back into kpop fandom.

        also this song is growing m, quite a bit.

        Liked by 2 people

    • He made Like Ooh-Ahh, Cheer Up, TT, Likey and Fancy with TWICE. While I love Apink and I adore I’m So Sick, Eung Eung and Dumhdurum, these songs don’t surpass these legendary Twice songs. I don’t think less of them, but surpass? No.

      I love the chorus of Dillema but the dillema dillema part sounds lazy and the pace changes don’t really work for me. At some points the production seems kinda lazy too. It feels like they didn’t get everything out of the song that potentially was there. But even with these flaws I still enjoy it a lot simply because the chorus is wonderful.

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      • I mean the part right after dilema dilema: baby I love you, I love you…that’s the chorus right? If not, how do I call it? :p

        I just realised I wrote dillema instead of dilema..ah well..that’s just something I’ll never get out of my head :p I always do that with the Nelly & Kelly song too :p

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  2. Let’s take a moment to appreciate that at almost 11 years, Apink is the longest kpop girl group still regularly promoting!

    I suspect “Dilemma” will be a grower on my itunes just like “Duhmdururururm” was a couple years ago. It doesn’t push boundaries; it just does what it does very well with enough hooks to be a nice addition to the playlist.

    I also appreciate that it is a few ticks faster on the bpm than Taeyeon’s release this morning which is vastly improved by setting it at 1.25x speed. Actually, if one were to match the bpms of Apink’s and Taeyeon’s, they would make a great dj mashup.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I really didn’t like the “dilemma dilemma” part of the chorus(feels lazy and it’s a little annoying) but I like eunji and bomi’s parts afterwards. As far as the breakdown in the second verse, I think if it was just chorong’s section I wouldn’t have an issue with it. Naeun’s part was really unwelcome though. My last note is that I wish they built to the dance break, they just jumped to it which is a shame cause it’s so satisfying.

    Im really curious how some producers just know what sounds go well together.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aside from the damn second verse shift, Apink have been 0/3 in choruses since I’m So Sick as far as I’m concerned. Eung Eung, Dumduhrum, Dilemma all just sound like they’re taking after ISS but the series of hooks that make up ISS are lightning in a bottle and I just don’t think they’re served well trying to remake successively inferior versions of this song.

    The bridge is pretty nice though, and I appreciate them still going strong. But this probably isn’t gonna be in my headphones much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoy the chorus of the song, but as you said that second verse is just a wrecker! I’m wondering if this is just a blimp or if the trend is revitalizing again. Maybe it’s too early to tell but I hope the latter doesn’t become true.

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  6. I really like this and I think I’m the only one not bothered by the tempo switch in the 2nd verse. Seems like the only time I’m bothered by 2nd verse tempo switch is when 4th gen bgs do it because they also fully change the instruments into more trap.

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      • Yep! The tempo switch worked really well here. The only time 2nd verse trap bothers me is really when the instrument packs are so different from the original soundscape they are creating. Like obviously 4th gen kpop bgs with their obligatory trap rap.

        Like

  7. I’m exactly the opposite, I dont like the dilemma dilemma chorus,but I appreciate the use of techno/trance sounds.

    No offense to the girls, but my favorite part of the song is in the break where no one is singing.

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  8. I love the chorus but the dillema dillema part sounds lazy and the pace changes don’t really work for me. I mean the part right after dillema dillema: baby I love you, I love you…that’s the chorus right? If not, how do I call it? :p At some points the production seems kinda lazy. It feels like they didn’t get everything out of the song that potentially was there. But even with these flaws I still enjoy it a lot simply because the chorus is wonderful.

    I’m really happy Apink is still going strong after 11 years. I listened to the new album a lot yesterday and it started growing on me very fast. Dream kinda reminds me of All Mine by f(x) for some reason. It really is a lovely song.

    Like

    • I just realised I wrote dillema instead of dilema..ah well..that’s just something I’ll never get out of my head :p I always do that with the Nelly & Kelly song too :p

      Like

  9. Hello everyone and thanks for the review!
    I’m pretty surprised about you folks don’t like the second verse. The Chorong part is so smooth and low (almost trapped in the mix like in strings) then the Naeun part is bitter and angry. I never imagined the deliciously conservative BEP could dare such a switch! In my opinion, it’s one of the strongest BEP+Jeon Goon* works. The girls are fantastic (as usual) and the mix makes them shine.

    * I consider BEP get better and better. I love Twice era, but their work with Apink or STAYC is unmatched in their carreer imo.

    Like

  10. I hate the dilemma, dilemma dilemma, particularly the awkward shift in the stressed syllable. It sounds like they’re tripping over the word. Otherwise it’s nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This song is SO DAMN GOOD! I think the repetition of dilemma is my favorite part of the entire track, and I love the half-time breakdown.

    Like

  12. The first part of the chorus could have been better but the next part it is so beautiful, it gets a pass. The trap like part it is a big no but then comes Hayoung and fix its before it gets too bad haha. I love it. and i love that they are back.

    Liked by 1 person

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