In a girl group landscape filled with bombastic beats and shouty sing-talk, Oh My Girl are a welcome outlier. Their career is filled with quirky highlights, harnessing memorable hooks to craft a sound that moves from ethereal to whimsical and back again. Increased popularity has stolen a bit of this unique identity, but with peers like GFriend and Lovelyz relegated to the history books, I can always turn to Oh My Girl for my shot of sunny pop serotonin.
With this in mind, I hoped for a home run. Real Love feels more like a bunt. The song is perfectly pleasant, but lacks the energy expected from an Oh My Girl title. The group opts for a more subdued, sophisticated sound and they pull it off. This is no surprise. They have one of the best vocal lines in K-pop, and those beautiful tones are given ample spotlight. Real Love’s chorus is very pretty. I enjoy the light wistfulness of the melody, but the production lets it down. The synths feel too busy and leaden, favoring generic tropical chirps that never deliver the sense of lift the melody begs for.
The verses are more successful, underlined by a simple bounce that injects welcome grooviness. Verse two is especially effective. The girls’ vampy vocals echo the rhythm, adding a touch of momentum. But, Real Love doesn’t grow past this modest ambition. Not every song needs a giant climax to thrive, but I would have loved a stronger through-line. Instead, the track builds toward an abrupt ending that leaves the listener unsatisfied. I think Real Love will have great longevity, but it doesn’t come close to Oh My Girl’s strongest singles.