Song Review: (G)I-DLE – Tomboy

(G)-IDLE - TomboyWith K-pop’s “girl crush” sound and concept omnipresent over the past few years, it’s become abundantly clear which groups can pull it off and which feel less authentic. I wouldn’t call (G)I-DLE’s debut era “girl crush,” but their edgier energy certainly helped lay the groundwork. They’ve made their name on self-produced shots of calculated attitude.

Truthfully, (G)I-DLE are one of the few K-pop groups that just aren’t for me. I’ve loved some of their solos and tend to enjoy most of their title tracks. But, their musical approach echoes many pop trends that are personal pet peeves. The vocal delivery tends to be incredibly affected, which takes me out of the music. And, the group never met a drop-style chorus they didn’t like. These same aspects make it difficult to count Tomboy as a total success. I dig the rock guitar and the track is well-composed by current K-pop standards. But, it all feels so try-hard and – honestly – cheesy. I’d rather a group show us how badass they are rather than rattle off empty lyrics like “I’m a tomboy! This is my attitude!”.

Taking the performance and lyrical content out of the equation, Tomboy’s guitar-heavy production holds a ton of potential. The chorus still rests on an instrumental drop, but it’s a big, crunchy drop that makes an exciting centerpiece. The energy is quite similar to Jessi’s What Type Of X from last year, though she pulled off the style with more flair. Tomboy still feels like a typical K-pop track with punky elements sprinkled on top. It’s fun and catchy, but ultimately a little hollow.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75


46 thoughts on “Song Review: (G)I-DLE – Tomboy

  1. Yah I found this a little one note…like the chorus doesn’t do anything the verses don’t do? if you know what i mean.

    also the bridge/ ending feels like such a Billie Eilish’ism… it almost makes me laugh. I don’t dislike it tho.

    That said I’m happy to see Idle back and promoting. I personally like some of their affectations, particularly Yuqi and Minnie’s…but I can totally seeing it throw other listeners off.

    This has a lot of potential and does deliver in many ways, just not all the ways!!!


  2. idk I don’t think a song being a cheesy is a real criticism in this industry, its kpop so groups inherently can’t be badass or prove themselves to be badass

    Liked by 2 people

    • True. The thing is, “cheesy” is usually a compliment coming from me! But, not in this context. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a kind of cheesy that feels as if it’s trying to be serious… but not in an unintentionally campy way.

      IDK… now I’m just talking in circles!

      Liked by 8 people

  3. I didn’t really have any high expectations for the song, but Soyeon’s rap was especially bad when its normally a highlight – very awkward with the cringy English lyrics. And the desperate TikTok reference, please no. Though the cringy lyrics are an issue with the whole song too…definitely agree it all feels too tryhard. Appreciate the guitar like you though.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. I’m a big (G)I-DLE fan, but this song (and the album tbh) left me kinda underwhelmed. I agree with all your points and ultimately just thing this rock direction isn’t a good move. As you said the whole.package feels rather hollow. On top of that, Soyeon’s rap was just not good. I love her but I don’t why she decided to make an entire rap in English and it honestly is one of the weakest kpop verses I’ve heard in a rather long time. After more than a year away and all the other shit that went on with the group, this comeback was pretty dissapointing

    Liked by 7 people

    • While I know this is a world of chaos and unpredictability, I do enjoy contants. Water is wet, ice is cold, my socks refuse to cohabitate, and (G)I-dle is (G)I-dle; except now, the latter is no longer true.


  5. I’ll wait for the stages 😀 Truthfully I don’t remember the song… but I found it funny 😂 The whole psychotic barbies trying to assassinate Ken was over the top ridiculous… If you ask me was the song good, I don’t know 😂 I didn’t even recognise the girls really with the exception of Soyeon, but the MV was morbidly funny!


  6. It actually sounds like a song Garbage would do. I’m not Garbage’s biggest fan, but they have their moments. As does this song. Has a very 90s alt-rock that’s not that alternative vibe. It’s fine. Now if Garbage’s Butch Vig ever decided to revisit his Killdozer producing days with noisy children like Verivery or MCND, that could be epic.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Me too! Honestly as a die hard Garbage fan (I have seen them live) I didn’t hear their sound in this. But the fact they’ve been mentioned in at least two comment sections recently gives me hope a girl group will nail the sound. Suzie’s Satellite was close.
        The instrumental with that repetitive high pitch was very Billie Eilish so I agree with that assessment. One of the girls had a nice deep voice but I couldn’t figure out who was who under all the makeup.
        Good luck girls!

        Liked by 3 people

        • There’s always room for another power/trend setting female performer/group.

          – Janis Joplin
          – Grace Slick
          – Bette Midler
          – Donna Summer
          – The Heart sisters
          – Kate Bush
          – Laurie Anderson
          – Annie Lennox
          – Grace Jones
          – Chrissie Hynde
          – Martha Davis
          – Siouxsie
          – Sara, Siobhan and Keren
          – Dolores O’Riordan
          – Sinéad O’Connor
          – Debbie Harry
          – Patti Smith
          – Björk
          – Madonna
          – The Go-Go’s
          – T-Boz, Left Eye, Chili
          – Salt/Pepa
          – Fiona Apple
          – Tracy Bonham
          – Alanis Morissette
          – Tracy Thorne
          – Mylène Farmer/Alizée/Jenifer
          – Imogen Heap
          – Shirley Manson
          – Aguilera/Spears/Carey/Houston/Dion
          – Stansfield/Miles/Dayne/
          – P!nk/Lavigne/Robyn
          – Mary J. Blige/Beyoncé/Lil’ Kim/Nikki Minaj
          – Sade
          – Tori Amos
          – Alicia Keys
          – Amy Lee
          – Sarah McLachlan
          – Amy Winehouse
          – Adele
          – Billie Eilish
          – and many, many more (refer to this if I didn’t list your fave)

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Me: Did she just sing “look, my toe?” I must have misheard that. (scrubs back)
    Lyrics: Look at my toe

    Those are truly some of the most horrendous English lyrics I’ve heard in a while (ridiculous, but not enough so to qualify as kitsch.) That being said, at least they’re all looking amazing, and the MV plotline is giving me Wonder Girls vibes.

    Song is fun! The most assured (G)Idle have sounded in a while. If there was a Korean version with lyrics I couldn’t understand, I would pay actual money for it and feel the way I did when I discovered there was an “Adora-only” version of “Make U Dance” (nothing against Eunha, but I just think Adora’s voice elevates anything.)

    I wonder if after TXT & Seventeen & Jessi & now (G)Idle, we’re in for a “rock-lite” trend soon. I think my favorite in the genre for the year so far is Song Soowoo’s “Love Me or Hate Me.”


    • Oh wow, I saw that line in the mv subtitles but I figured it was an error caused by automatically generated English titles. I did enjoy the song! I’m going to have to try and see if I can make myself forget/tune out some of the English lyrics.


  8. So I have been watching Queendom recently (didn’t see it when it was airing and wanted to catch up before Queendom 2) and what I have found to be my problem with a lot of Idle songs and performances is that Soyeon just overpowers everything. I can’t get past her parts in this song. Which is a shame cos I generally like the music and the aesthetic of the song, but the performance and vocals I hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For how long have most of us been upset because group “x” is trying to sound like (G)I-dle? As of today, the worst group to try to sound like (G)I-dle is.. ..(G)I-dle.

    How many times have I defended sub-Seuss lyrics in K-Pop? “Tomboy” is indefensible. The title, itself, is confusing. By definition, a tomboy is disinterested in femininity, yet the visuals and the rest of the message (if you can call it that) goes in the opposite direction. It’s like they got confused between Anti-Feminine and Feminism. The rest of the lyrics are like some poorly written AI was fed a few buzzwords and then told to execute “wing it” protocol.

    I am genuinely worried for the future of K-Pop. I’ve been worried before, and I’m not ready to start waving a “The end is nigh!” sign, but it is getting really, really hard to justify my loyalty to this genre at this point.; not just to others, but to myself.

    Liked by 6 people

      • Me too. I was worried about contract renewals (which were due in early 2022), but 5 have already signed; and while Mimi and Jiho have been holding out, it appears they’ll be re-upping as well. I was worried because Yubin (Binnie) did the name change thing, which could have been an indication that she was rebranding herself for a potential run as an actress; and while that may still be true, she’s at least sticking with the group for the foreseeable future.

        Liked by 2 people

        • With their newfound success, OMG seems like they’ll have more longevity than a lot of their peers. All I need now is WM to give them more than one comeback a year. Can’t be hard to do this year since OMG is literally they’re only active group currently.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly, agree, especially about the outfits. I feel like they could’ve pushed a bit more, even something more like Weeekly’s After School would be good, maybe even doing some dramatic haircuts in a member, and just exploring more of the masculine would’ve elevated the concept a bit more.

      I know a group’s song doesn’t need to cater to every single member, but as a person who has seen the group in a lot of different contexts, seeing some of them, especially having Miyeon, which is one of the most feminine idols I have seen, singing this type of song seems a bit… weird.

      Gotta say it would’ve worked really well as a Soyeon solo tho, I feel she can capture the essence of it, but as a group… It needed a bit more. I do like the song tho.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In a genre where idols are asked to sing about love but it’s a huge problem when they actually fall in love it kinda makes sense that other idols must show how “rebel” they are while firing the ones that are/were really rebel… It would also be ironic that they have another title song called Seniorita, except that they have no idea what Tomboy actually means. Before having attitude it doesn’t hurt to get some real knowledge about what you are talking about otherwise you risk looking vapid.


  11. I appreciate how g idle have done different styles but still retain a sense of being a g idle in each of them. I’m not super into the things that make up that style but I appreciate it.

    I was pretty disappointed by that chorus,but I enjoyed the rest of the song (sonically). Some of these lyrics are not good… However they don’t seem to be taking themselves too seriously so I can ignore it

    Also,the music video was great


  12. I think I’m the only one who liked the album here,,,, T-T I love underwhelming songs as it grew on me a lot,,, Loco, Run2U, and Wa Da Da grew on me,,

    I’d say Tomboy is good but not my favorite,,, If you think about it,,, it is classified as experimental as it is not the original sound of g(i-dle)

    This is my ranking
    2. ALREADY
    3. ESCAPE
    5. TOMBOY
    6. LIAR (good songs end here)
    8. MY BAG


  13. I’m not overthinking it. Its an OK pop song, almost very 2005-2010 like, as if it could be contemporary with mid-Pink and early Katy Perry. Pink of course did this theme much better with her “Stupid Girls”, ‘ because Pink.

    That said, yeah, they don’t really know what a tomboy is. As Twinsen and Xeno mention above, its as if they think a tomboy is something, and are playing both sides of that something, and missing all three shots.

    For the record, Amber of f(x) would be considered a tomboy. Possibly Moonbyul of Mamamoo at times, more girly tomboy.


    • For me – surprisingly, out of everything, this song bears the greatest likelihood to Victorious’s “Take a Hint”


  14. With the trilogy of “Lion,” “OMG,” and god-tier “Hwaa” setting the stage – with “I’m the Trend” and “DUMDi DUMDi” mixed in – this one falls flatter than flat. Better luck next time.


  15. Kinda likin’ the song, and likin’ the whole album and its overall rock vibe (pheww, Soyeon’s rap skills are amply redeemed after the hot mess in Tomboy). So if you’re casually scrolling through this comment section wondering if there are fellow “I never die” enthusiasts, there you go!


  16. Overall the song is okay, but Soyeon’s rap is just- so disappointing. The lyrics are so cringey and even though Soyeon is my fave rapper, this rap sounds garbage. I do like the music video because of the bold aesthetics and the stop motion barbie part was so funny😂. I do prefer My Bag and Escape over this song.

    Btw you should check out Bibi, her voice is really good.


  17. Will there be a buried treasure for the album? I recommend Already or Polaroid, the ones that are living rent-free in my head.


  18. i seriously can not believe 7.75 is all you got from “Tomboy”….GIDLE felt they needed to make a statement for this comeback and they did!….the entire album is a bop, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and i respect everyone’s various thoughts….

    t. gumbo


  19. I’m actually a really big fan of this release, I love what they’re doing with the rock instrumentals, it sounds authentic and raw and coupled with their vocals is just amazing as a concept. Their lyrics are the absolute worst but with how much I’m enjoying the song it doesn’t bother me as much ahaha


  20. Yeah, aside from the cringy English lyrics and wannabe time, one thing that confused me about this comeback is the concept. They said “tomboy” and had lyrics like “neither man nor woman”, and so you would assume they’d take a more masculine or gender neutral approach with the MV and styling. But nope, it’s still very feminine, and they didn’t even try to switch it up a little. The song was about how “different” they were, but everything about it was so generic, from the styling and concept to the overdone beat drop chorus. I really feel like they had an AI write this song for them, the lyrics make no sense. Soyeon was confirmed as one of the best rappers in k-pop, then she comes up with just the absolutely worst rap in Tomboy. Like girl?? Do you really want to get rid of your title that bad?


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