Song Review: UiU – Starlit

UiU - StarlitIt’s so fun when an unexpected or unknown K-pop group surprises you in a good way. Prior to googling their name (which immediately brings up Upper Iowa University), I couldn’t tell you anything about UiU besides the fact that the stylization of their name looks cute (or naughty, depending on how you look at it). It turns out these letters stand for “Untact Idol Unit,” which is… incomprehensible. And, UiU was formed through a university’s survival show. Not Upper Iowa, thankfully.

More importantly, digital single Starlit is a bit of a bop. It succeeds in the way many of my old-school K-pop favorites do, which isn’t surprising given its pedigree. This is the work of producer Nam Gisang, notable for crafting hits for 2nd/3rd-gen groups like Girl’s Day, Dalshabet and Beat Win. He hasn’t been consistently active since 2016, making Starlit a Sweetune situation, where a beloved, long-lost producer proves their skill in a marketplace that has unfortunately moved on. And just like RoaD-B’s Nonstop, I don’t see Starlit having any surprising chart success. But, it sure is nice to hear a song like this in 2022!

Immediately, I was struck by how satisfying Starlit‘s vocal arrangement is. Its full, propulsive chorus is the result of letting your K-pop groups sing — using their voices as a focal point rather than a cheap accessory. The song itself may be a little uneven. The verses and bridge could use some tightening to make the final product really sparkle. But, every time the chorus comes around I’m whisked off to a glorious musical universe that K-pop delivers like no one else. More of this, please! And Nam Gisung, please don’t be a stranger. The industry needs talent like yours.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

10 thoughts on “Song Review: UiU – Starlit

  1. that nugu production and mixing is such a different vibe also loved the chorus! the song is full of energy but idk if its enough for me to comeback

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is such a frisson that comes with discovering the little under-appreciated groups. Me, guilty as charged, all the time. *cough* Yunsae *cough* new comeback *cough*

    This song is delightfully shaggy. They are singing as if their lives depend on it. I love how in the video, it looks like they are full throated singing along to their parts, hence the visual being out of sync with the audio. Most kpoppers would lip sync fully or sing sotto voce along to their parts, or dispense with lipsyncing entirely and just pose. Here it looks like they are singing singing. I would love to seem them perform this live on the music shows, because I think they would be fully present for the performance and sing the shit out of the song.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate to say this because it sounds kinda mean. But if this were performed by a higher profile group, then it would be 10x better. The nugu production and performance really drags it down, and I feel like a group that is more comprehensively trained with a bigger budget would do a far better job. I know the members probably worked hard, but I can’t help but feel like this was one of those rushed money-grabbing projects that lucked out with a producer that made a good song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not mean at all in my opinion—”the only thing it really needs is money” is one of the best compliments a package like this can receive.

      I can’t speak for the dance/visuals because that isn’t my area of expertise, but if there’s one stat I’d look to boost with this group, vocals would not be it. With a more experienced audio engineer, I think this group would sound as good as other groups, if not better.


  4. Yeah the vocal mixing is rough, and I’m not in love with the prechorus, but holy hell, what a song! That chorus just explodes in the best way. It’s uncomplicated and supremely hooky, just the way I like a lot of my pop.


  5. It feels like the newer groups don’t make music with this kind of sound anymore. I’m getting Girl’s Day “Don’t Forget Me” vibes even though the songs don’t sound exactly the same. The song weirdly sounds better on Spotify.


  6. I really like this song, I could totally see dal shabet performing this. I wish the vocal production was better, it sounds a little off. Regardless I’m excited to see more of these girls!


  7. What a beautiful song. I loved it and just in case I came to see if you had reviewed it and I see that you didn’t miss it. Maybe it needs to be polished in some points like the bridge but it is already quite good!


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