Woollim Entertainment’s sudden embrace of the Japanese market has been awkward to watch. I mean, Infinite used to release J-pop material to great success, but over the past few months the agency seems to be sending all of its talent to Japan. It’s like they’re throwing everything at the wall and hoping something will stick. So far, these releases have been pretty extraneous and lacking in identity – a quality I’ve never associated with Woollim before.
Following the lead of Rocket Punch and Golden Child, DRIPPIN have made their official J-pop debut with So Good. The song returns them to the bright, bubbly sound of last year’s Free Pass. In theory, I love this direction for the guys. It suits their age and energy. But, they’ve yet to find a “bright” pop sound as satisfying or convincing as agency seniors Infinite and Golden Child. Even though I’d consider myself a fan, I honestly have no idea who DRIPPIN are supposed to be as a group. Minus the name recognition from survival shows, their sound has shifted so often that their concept has become a bit faceless.
Strong songs can counteract this concern, and DRIPPIN certainly have a few of those under their belt. Sadly, So Good doesn’t live up to its title. I’d call it moderately good, at best. The percussion is lively and fun and the whistled loop doesn’t grate in the way whistles often can. The chorus bops along with breezy energy and the climactic breakdown injects needed spontaneity. But apart from a couple punchy rap breaks, So Good does nothing for the group. It’s the pop song version of a straight line, lacking the melodic peaks that would have me coming back for more.