Feature

Reviewing and Ranking Queendom’s Final Singles (Brave Girls, Hyolyn, Kep1er, LOONA, VIVIZ, WJSN)

Queendom FinalAs a supplement to my individual episode recaps, I like to take a look at the original songs that make up Queendom‘s finale. These were pre-released ahead of next week’s performances, which means we can judge them on their own merits rather than the effects-heavy stages that will no doubt bring a healthy dose of visual bombast to the music.

Over the years, the finale songs have been a mixed bag. Both Queendom Season 1 and Road To Kingdom had a few stunning tracks, but last year’s Kingdom was largely forgettable. Sadly, this year is the worst yet. I don’t have much desire to hear any of these songs again, so my ranking goes from “serviceable” to “borderline unlistenable.” Sorry, Queens. You deserved better than the producers gave you.

Queendom Season 1 Ranking
Road To Kingdom Ranking
Kingdom Ranking

Past Queendom Recaps: Episode OneEpisode Two / Episode Three / Episode Four / Episode Five / Episode Six / Episode Seven // Episode Eight // Episode Nine


6. Kep1er – The Girls (Can’t Turn Me Down)


I’m sorry, but this is horrible. Maybe the song would be more successful if it stopped at the verses, but The Girls stumbles into a god-awful drop chorus that feels like the epitome of lazy songwriting. It doesn’t even flow with the rest of the track, nor does the group attempt to throw any real hook over the top of the obnoxious beat. It’s just bad “girl crush” attitude, reheated for the thousandth time. And just when you think it’s over, the instrumental shreds itself into pieces.


5. LOONA – Pose


Pose gets a few bonus points because its verses try to present something memorable. The slinky instrumental goes along with the fashionable theme and the girls are game for the concept. But then, Pose drops into a soul-killing breakdown. I know these songs were designed for the stage performance, but you can show off choreography without upending the entire song. It sounds like the producers just gave up midway through, chucking a weird, half-tempo drop into the space that should have been occupied by a chorus. Thankfully, this is a full minute shorter than most of the songs, so that’s working in its favor I guess.


4. Hyolyn – Waka Boom (My Way) (ft. Lee Young Ji)


Hyolyn has felt like the undisputed queen of Queendom, but this song does her no favors. Like most of these tracks, you can tell it was designed specifically for the competition with its constant shifts and breakdowns. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of any engaging hook. The central beat drop is big and ugly and the silly repetition of “waka boom boom waka waka boom boom” honestly feels beneath Hyolyn’s stature. Lee Young Ji’s rap is a nice switch-up, but I really hate the percussion in this song. Almost every loop is needlessly irritating. And at four-and-a-half minutes, it feels like it goes on forever.


3. WJSN – Aura


I’m surprised WJSN went with something so subdued. Aura is the moodiest track in the finale, driven by a whistled hook and evocative vocals. It sounds like a decent b-side for a stronger WJSN album, which is a little disappointing given the stakes of the competition. The chorus is a nice earworm, but taken as a whole the track lacks impact. Still, it gets bonus points for standing on its own. You can easily hear its charms without the need for a visual component.


2. VIVIZ – Red Sun!


What are the odds of having two “Red Suns” in this year’s competition? VIVIZ score some points for at least trying to do something different, even if this song is rather humdrum when stacked against similar efforts in its genre. This soft, symphonic jazz sound is a great fit for their airy vocals, and Red Sun actually has a chorus you could hum after listening to it. The song is overlong, with verses that don’t really go anywhere. And, it seems like an odd match for the Queendom stage. But, I could listen to this without feeling like I was receiving a lobotomy.


1. Brave Girls – Whistle


Brave Girls were smart to stick with their regular production team, making Whistle feel like an actual part of their discography. It’s definitely not a highlight when stacked against their post-2016 work, but this is easily my favorite Queendom song. It’s pleasant and propulsive and feels like it could be enjoyed beyond the confines of the competition. I’m not a fan of that tempo-shifting second verse, but beggars can’t be choosers. The group sounds great as always and the chorus (an actual chorus!) moves by with plenty of drive and energy.

38 thoughts on “Reviewing and Ranking Queendom’s Final Singles (Brave Girls, Hyolyn, Kep1er, LOONA, VIVIZ, WJSN)

  1. my faves are Whistle, POSE, and Red Sun. The rest just weren’t memorable to me but we’ll see with the stages next week!

    Like

    • Its pretty hard to write a good chorus, but it should not be this hard for these highly experienced songwriters. I think its mostly a combination of a creativity drought, demands from the company, the catchiness required for a sonh to blow up and more.

      Like

      • Agreed, but the catchphrase hook and noisy drops also meet the same difficulties. You need a good instrumental to make a gripping and memorable beat drop, and the former has been getting more and more stale.

        Like

  2. Here’s my thoughts

    Waka Boom is so LONG. Like for a stage I get it, unfortunately the chorus is just a bit too blaring for me and having that extended for so long is not helping it. Even the instrumentals aren’t really that interesting too me, just a bunch of racket that fit, but don’t sound great. Plus the hooks just don’t appeal to me.

    AURA is so weird of a choice for a final track. I can see why they might have done it. It’s definitely reminding me of LION, but it definitely feels more like a b-side whereas LION felt like a title track for sure. While I was expecting a more cosmic sound for WJSN, I appreciate them taking their sound into an interesting space however the jungle vibe is a bit too subdued for me.

    The Girls. It has potential for sure, but it was not realized at all. That chorus is just too repetitive without too much substance behind it in that drop, which as Nick said is just a bit lazy. It doesn’t flow well, plus the rest of the song is also just okay, not really much to be excited about even the verses are just a bit lacking in luster. Not that enjoyable of a listen though a bit worse than Waka Boom.

    Red Sun! is a fun one for sure. Definitely has GFRIEND feel behind it. I don’t know much about chords or music theory, but the track feels breezy and easy. That’s a good thing and it definitely fits the strong triumphant feel that a finale track might need.

    I like POSE, but I totally get why it’s not others’ faves. I didn’t like this at first listen, but that chorus grew on me. Definitely feels like a boy group song, after all it was made by NCT producers. I think I like the chorus because they build on it with adlibs after the first instance which I really loved. Those verses are great though. I have a feeling that a club or a concert, this song would feel amazing. Regardless, I do think a different chorus could’ve been here like PTT and it would be much much better but I still really like it.

    Whistle is decent. I do think I have a problem with Brave Girls because I just don’t like their vocal tones so their songs just tend to pass me by instead of me vibing with it, I do think this is very well done even if I don’t particularly like it that much.

    My ranking probably goes like Red Sun! > POSE >>> AURA > Whistle >>>>> Waka Boom > The Girls.

    Like

  3. Aura sounds kinda demo-y. I hope they can improve it if it ends up on their album. Exy actually composed it so there’s that. I’m sure the performance will elevate it more.
    Red Sun is nice but I couldn’t help thinking it needed more impactful vocal. In the preview they said this song was almost on a GFriend album which makes a lot of since sound-wise. It’s missing Yuju’s vocals.
    I didn’t even bother listening to Kepler’s song and I could only get halfway through Loona’s track. Awful song. I still listen to quite a few of their pre-debut songs and I wanna know where did that quality disappear to???

    Like

    • Those qualities disappear with those people who initially work for loona songs like monotree and others. You can’t compare those god like release to these mnet mediocre songs.

      Like

    • Exy just throwing shade at Loona every episode. “All the orbits, planets, cosmos, universe. I dont even need the moonlight…” Pretty sure she’s trying to reference Loona here.

      Like

    • Im not gay, but I think that if they were going for the full “pose, vogue” theme a beat like Viviz Intro Vid for Queendom makes more sense. I dont know queer culture but a house beats makes way more sense, at least for me. Does any LGBTQ+ vogues/poses to trap beats?

      Like

    • This was the case for me (I think it’s a great song and I’m gay), though I think you can be gay and still not really like the song.

      Like

    • Gatekeep much? Remember when the gay community used to hate it when people did that against them and shouted to be let in? be better.

      Like

    • Gatekeep much? Remember when the gay community used to be very against that and demanded to be let in? Be better, because you are being the thing that was the problem.. You have become the problem.

      Look, the song was for everyone, only a fool thinks a pop song is anything else. Grow up.

      Like

  4. Most of the songs here sound they are modified to fulfill the artists’ performance purposes. The problem is the modification doesn’t bring much, even become the weakness of the songs’ strength points.

    Waka Boom, Pose, and The Girls suffer that instrumental chorus hook that nobody asked for. They were clearly made for an attitude show, which is reasonable for this program, but it ruins their potential. Honestly, Pose is one decent chorus away to top my list.

    Aura sounds like WJSN on budget, which is confusing considering it doesn’t go much far from their 2016-2020 material. So why not push the standard a bit?

    Whistle is probably the safest from them all. They are smart for not doing anything funny to the song, but I never really invested to BG tracks before, so when the chorus hits, it doesn’t do anything to me.

    I rank Red Sun! as first solely for the chorus. The verses sound extended for performance-purpose, which is dragging the whole song, but I’m able to justify that because I love the chorus so much. I wonder how the demo sounds like.

    Like

  5. 6. Hyolyn- waka boom
    She does everything she can but this song is a vibe I absolutely hate. The rap was great though. I hope we get more rap like that in kpop

    5. WJSN- aura
    Hated the delivery of the chorus but otherwise just a less impressive version of what they usually do

    4. Loona- pose
    Loved the song until the chorus. Too much idol rapping

    3. Viviz- red sun
    I love the instrumental. I think with time I might like this the most, but I’m having trouble remembering the melodies
    Except the annoying (sun! sun!)

    2. Kep1er- the girls
    It’s a noise song but I found it exciting. I really liked “, the girls the girls the girls the girls….”. The production isn’t revolutionary but it’s predictablility gives me comfort rather than annoyance. I definitely expected to hate their song the most so that probably plays a role as to why I enjoy it so much

    1. Brave girls- whistle
    Summer just fits them like a glove. I also really appreciated getting a lot of singing from them. I like whistles in pop songs too. Can’t tell if I hate or love that post chorus though lol

    Like

  6. Aura takes the top spot for me, followed by Red Sun. I kind of enjoyed Whistle, but most of the songs here were surprisingly weak. A Queendom/Kingdom song has been in my top 10 of the year overall for two years straight, and three years for K-Pop alone. I don’t this year will continue the streak, unfortunately.

    Like

  7. Ok I kind of understands why LOONA almost ALWAYS falls into beat drop chorus any time when it matters. This is a very dance heavy group that their leading dance line is sooo ridiculously stacked compared to others, but also in comparison the vocal line is by by by far the worst among groups with similar success. So I would ask the question of: what would you recommend as a reference for such groups?

    Like

    • I believe Everglow can be a good example of a group that usually focuses more on dance than vocals, and they show how to do a dance fueled track with Pirate and La Di Da, with energetic and bombastic choruses, with an interesting melody.

      Like

    • If I may ask, does Loona has a weak vocal line for K-Pop standards?
      I do not follow them and I loved their first stage and the second one but the songs just never manage to go beyond pleasant, at most, for me.
      I expected, for a group of that size, to have a small team of vocalist that could deliver without having to tire themselves while the rest could create vocal ensambles and harmonies without having to compromise the choreography. I expected some kind of SNSD but with a bigger dance line.

      Like

      • Yeah, the group’s vocal line is definitely on the weaker side of things. Usually most groups have one stand out vocalist (technique-wise) and maybe a few decent ones, but LOONA doesn’t really have that. Their strongest one is Chu if I remember correctly however she unfortunately isn’t that strong technically.

        The strongest vocalist in Q2 is Hyolyn (of course), who is still amongst the best in K-Pop. Then it falls to Dawon (but she is on hiatus), Minyoung, Yeonjung and Chaehyun (all on the average side).

        Like

  8. Underwhelmed by all of these tracks. Kind of like this whose season. Nothing I’ve seen in this season compares to season 1 of Queendom, and I’m a huge Loona fan. I think MNet missed out on including some other groups in this season.

    Like

  9. red sun!=gfriend formula not anything out of pocket but loved it yummy
    whistle=it was good but only good
    pose=hated it at first grew on me in a way i never expected and im not an orbit so its no bias involved. tho would i say its a good song? no
    already forgot the rest

    Like

  10. woah our rankings are exactly the same this time! im also whistle > red sun > aura > waka boom > pose > the girls

    the girls – why does this even exist? with every round of queendom 2 i get more and more convinced that kep1er management staff hates them or something, because like. why? just why? like.. please.. please just give them better things.. they’re capable of it.. please…

    pose – it’s kinda around the realm of so what and why not and ptt.. some “cool girl crush”-y stuff with instrumental chorus stuff (not sure the music terms). and i can’t say i like it. frankly, i just prefer loona’s hi high or butterfly era music more. i took to this a bit better than i did ptt though, but that’s surely just personal preference talking. the best part of the song is the voice that did the ‘lights camera action pose’ part, even if i don’t think it sounds like any of members. one of the songwriters maybe? so in a way, that’s sad too..

    waka boom – there are lots of sistar songs i like. there are also lots of hyolyn solo songs i like. but the only thing that saves this one is lee youngji’s rap. don’t get me wrong, it’s smart to feature youngji here, but if she ends up being the highlight instead of hyolyn herself, it’s also kinda disappointing. hyolyn’s voice is just always lovely, so that’s also a plus point. but this song, if it weren’t the rap and hyolyn’s voice, would rank even lower than pose for me.

    aura – there are parts i like about this, especially the chorus and the spoken intro stuff (and i don’t usually like spoken intro). but i agree with people saying it either feels like a b side or feels like a demo. the song has some potentials, but it’s kinda not there yet.. i think wjsn will manage it somehow though, maybe with storytelling elements as well for the performance. so, while the song feels somewhat mediocre (or above average within the current selection of six) and pretty disappointing as a wjsn ‘title’ track, the performance itself maybe a different story.

    red sun! – at first i wasn’t very into it, but now i can’t.. get it out of my head.. i don’t think it sounds like gfriend songs though, personally, since it feels a lot jazzier than what gfriend would’ve gone for. but then i was only a casual listener of theirs and people all seem to agree it sounds gfriend-y, so maybe it’s just me. i also kinda like that each of the viviz members get their moment of vocal spotlight in the song? all around, pretty good, and an unexpected choice for them, yeah.

    whistle – this one sounds like it’s gonna be performed together with rollin and chi mat ba ram in a summer festival or something. and this isn’t the best brave girls song ever, i agree too, but it’s the best by a pretty long shot compared to every other queendom 2 final tracks. yuna’s whistle whistle whiiii (or something) gets really addicting really quickly too..

    hope this doesn’t come across as hate. pretty disappointing lineup overall compared to queendom season 1. hell, i wasn’t too deeply into kingdom’s final round tracks as well, but i think that still went better than this one, even if by just a bit. and i know that not all groups would be aiming for some fantastic finale stage kind of thing, but still, if i try to imagine it, i kind of have a hard time picturing some cool grand performances for any of the songs given how they’re so weak..

    Like

  11. was looking forward to your rankings and the commenters’ rankings, was waiting for this post but now that it’s posted.. woah our rankings are exactly the same this time! im also whistle > red sun > aura > waka boom > pose > the girls

    the girls – why does this even exist? with every round of queendom 2 i get more and more convinced that kep1er management staff hates them or something, because like. why? just why? like.. please.. please just give them better things.. they’re capable of it.. please…

    pose – it’s kinda around the realm of so what and why not and ptt.. some “cool girl crush”-y stuff with instrumental chorus stuff (not sure the music terms). and i can’t say i like it. frankly, i just prefer loona’s hi high or butterfly era music more. i took to this a bit better than i did ptt though, but that’s surely just personal preference talking. the best part of the song is the voice that did the ‘lights camera action pose’ part, even if i don’t think it sounds like any of members. one of the songwriters maybe? so in a way, that’s sad too..

    waka boom – there are lots of sistar songs i like. there are also lots of hyolyn solo songs i like. but the only thing that saves this one is lee youngji’s rap. don’t get me wrong, it’s smart to feature youngji here, but if she ends up being the highlight instead of hyolyn herself, it’s also kinda disappointing. hyolyn’s voice is just always lovely, so that’s also a plus point. but this song, if it weren’t the rap and hyolyn’s voice, would rank even lower than pose for me.

    aura – there are parts i like about this, especially the chorus and the spoken intro stuff (and i don’t usually like spoken intro). but i agree with people saying it either feels like a b side or feels like a demo. the song has some potentials, but it’s kinda not there yet.. i think wjsn will manage it somehow though, maybe with storytelling elements as well for the performance. so, while the song feels somewhat mediocre (or above average within the current selection of six) and pretty disappointing as a wjsn ‘title’ track, the performance itself maybe a different story.

    red sun! – at first i wasn’t very into it, but now i can’t.. get it out of my head.. i don’t think it sounds like gfriend songs though, personally, since it feels a lot jazzier than what gfriend would’ve gone for. but then i was only a casual listener of theirs and people all seem to agree it sounds gfriend ish, so maybe it’s just me. i also kinda like that each of the viviz members get their moment of vocal spotlight in the song? all around, pretty good, and an unexpected choice for them, yeah.

    whistle – this one sounds like it’s gonna be performed together with rollin and chi mat ba ram in a summer festival or something. and this isn’t the best brave girls song ever, i agree too, but it’s the best by a pretty long shot compared to every other queendom 2 final tracks. yuna’s whistle whistle whiiii (or something) gets really addicting really quickly too..

    hope this doesn’t come across as hate. pretty disappointing lineup overall compared to queendom season 1. hell, i wasn’t too deeply into kingdom’s final round tracks as well, but i think that still went better than this one, even if by just a bit. and i know that not all groups would be aiming for some fantastic finale stage kind of thing, but still, if i try to imagine it, i kind of have a hard time picturing some cool grand performances for any of the songs given how they’re so weak..

    Like

  12. Compared to Queendom 1, groups in Queendom 2 are clearly weaker. I am watching Queendom 2 mainly because of Loona and Brave Girls. So will support them regardless of the song. Hyolyn is good but Sistar as a group was better. The rest are not quite there to be in Queendom in the 1st place. Some of these groups will be gone after their 7 years contract expiry, think Lovelyz and AOA (almost gone left with 3 members). I think WJSN would be gone by next year as IVE can successfully replaced them as IVE already have more success than WJSN after 2 hit songs.

    Like

    • To be fair, the argument that they are “not quite there” can be made for any of the groups in the show, as the purpose of being in the show is to gain more popularity. That being said, I don’t think the fate of the groups really matter here as we are discussing the quality of the songs.

      Like

  13. all of these songs are not better than average. i don’t know where did mnet find all these songs and producers. probably from the same website. they need to stop doing that. whistle and pose the only song that i can listen to. the others are just nothing special about them. i was expecting a better finale songs for this season but mnet as always know how to disappoint their audience.

    Like

  14. Only Aura and Whistle have made my playlist. The rest didn’t resonate at all, but then I am deeply bored with generic girl crush.

    Like

  15. Hey, just wanted to say thanks for all these posts and that we referenced you in our own post on Queendom in posts recently (and linked to you in yesterday’s post).
    Thanks
    Ash & bob at Climbing Moss

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.