With 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.