After debuting at the start of 2022, the MNET-spawned rookie group Kep1er took a detour via the company’s own Queendom competition, further building their fanbase as they competed with senior acts. Now, it’s time to get back to the music with the summer-themed Up. I’m more than ready for a great 2022 summer track, and producers Full8loom could easily be the ones to deliver. Unfortunately, Up doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of past summer triumphs.
There’s a great song in here somewhere, but Up tries to do too much. Rather than focus on one of two killer hooks, it pinballs from moment to moment with breathless energy. I’m all for “breathless energy,” and Kep1er are certainly equipped to deliver. But, too much of Up is stolen by heavily-affected sing-talk. When the song is good – like during its refreshing post-chorus – Up conjures classic summertime energy. The synths that emerge during the bridge are pure Sistar Shake It, but those same tones spend the pre-chorus being strangled by claustrophobic percussion and generic chant-rapping.
Exciting touches abound within Up’s busy arrangement. I wish they were developed further. The talk box in the intro gets buried within the rest of the track, and the shifting momentum threatens to neuter the track’s propulsive moments. The chorus is fun, but isn’t hitting me in the way I had hoped. The seasonal theming will ensure greater longevity than most tracks of this style, but it’s a high bar for girl group summer tracks. Going back even a year (or three) I don’t see this coming close to modern classics like Chi Mat Ba Ram, Boogie Up or Tiki-Taka.