Last time we heard from boy group WEi (Universe releases aside…), they gave us the upbeat, summery sounds of Bye Bye Bye. It was a sudden shift in style, embracing upbeat power pop rather than the angstier material they had debuted with. New track Too Bad follows this pattern, cementing the group’s transformation. And unsurprisingly, it faces the same successes and challenges as its predecessor.
First off, you all know I’m a champion of this bright sound for boy groups. Whether staged or not, it gives their performances a chance to show more personality and joy. Too Bad will no doubt result in fun stages, but it also feels like a missed opportunity. The energy is great, with an instrumental that bounds along punchy guitar and handclap percussion. It’s a tried and true formula, but one we don’t hear too much of in K-pop nowadays.
However, a song like Too Bad lives or dies on the strength of its melodies. This track is harmless enough, but lacks the rousing centerpiece that would make it a standout. Oddly, the chorus feels too busy and too empty at the same time. It’s stuffed with lyrics, but most of them are throwaway “na na na’s” that never form a knockout refrain. The same could be said about the verses, which bop along with fluffy verve yet fail to go in for the kill and lodge themselves forever in your memory. This results in a pleasant title track that evokes much stronger efforts within the industry. If you’re craving a rush of bubblegum boy group pop, do yourself a favor and check out the debut eras of Astro, Golden Child and B1A4.