Nearly two years since her solo debut, Mamamoo’s Solar has returned with her first mini album. Just like 2020’s Spit It Out, she continues to subvert expectations by embracing upbeat grooves rather than the balladry some might have imagined. For better or worse, Honey (꿀) follows in the footsteps of many recent Mamamoo singles – both full-group and solo.
When Mamamoo first burst onto the scene, the excitement was palpable. They brought a classic retro pop sound that favored dynamic harmonies and irresistible attitude. Somewhere along the line, their music transformed into something completely different. A song like Honey encapsulates that change. It’s a haphazard affair, resting more on style and vibe than fleshed-out, fully realized hooks. In a way, the song feels like every current K-pop trope thrown into a blender. There’s the distorted beat drop during the chorus, the percussive build during the pre-chorus, the second verse switch up (complete with tempo change!). For someone listening to Honey without years of K-pop baggage, the track might be a thrill. But given my work on this blog, it’s impossible to see it as anything but diminished returns.
So, we’re left with a song that goes in one ear and out the other. The hook is barely a hook. The brassy flourish that follows is little more than an afterthought. Solar does her best with the material, bringing an easy charisma. But, there’s just not much to grab onto here. Nothing is bad, per se. It just feels reheated and rehashed from a million other songs without a unique spark to make it pop.