ILY:1’s Love In Bloom never found a place on my playlist, but I appreciated its throwback to a tropical pop sound. It’s funny how you can miss musical trends once they’re over! New single Que Sera Sera (케세라세라) jettisons the tropical influences but offers a different kind of throwback. The song sees the group harnessing the style of cute, fluffy pop we used to get from groups like Lovelyz and early Apink.
As “girl crush” has taken over the industry, songs like this are harder to find. I’m a fan of this sound only because it tends to result in more fully-fleshed melodies and robust choruses. That’s the case with Que Sera Sera, though the song and delivery has a few rough edges to contend with. For me, much of the performance threatens to tip too far into cutesy pandering. When it comes to this sub-genre there’s a fine line between charming and silly, and the song’s verses nearly cross it. However, Que Sera Sera rights itself during its sparkling pinwheel of a chorus.
I love the layered vocal approach here. It’s always been one of my favorite aspects in K-pop. Singing in unison holds so much power, even if it’s couched within a “cute” framework. The melody echoes this strength, bounding forward on a rush of pop pixy dust. But without the connective tissue between these standout choruses, Que Sera Sera becomes a harder sell. I hope ILY:1 can further refine this sound on upcoming comebacks. There’s a huge hole in the market for music like this.