Review

Song Review: Purple Kiss – Nerdy

Purple Kiss - NerdySince their debut, Purple Kiss have shifted between lighter and darker concepts. But even when they’ve embraced pop fluff, it’s been filtered through a warped prism. More than anything, new single Nerdy feels like the natural successor to last year’s Zombie – still the group’s high water mark, in my opinion. I appreciate its groove, but the final product leaves something to be desired.

There’s a moment late in Nerdy when the vocals drop out and the beat is met with a cool violin sample. This audio element underlines most of the track, giving it a funhouse/horror motif that has a ton of potential. But detached from the K-popisms of Nerdy’s melody, the production finally gains clarity during this bridge. I’m all for a haunted house bop! Unfortunately, we have heaps of ‘na na na nee na,’ ‘do do do do’ songwriting to deal with on our way through this attraction. This style of hook is undeniably catchy. But, catchy isn’t always a good thing. To me, Nerdy’s chorus is more obnoxious than exciting.

The rest of the track is quite fitful, moving from breakdown to catchphrase to rhythmic shift without settling on any element for long. It’s all tied together by an Eilish-esque commitment to sardonic quirkiness. Needless to say, the approach isn’t for me. I recognize I may be standing alone on this hill, as the group has already attracted a dedicated fan base. Hopefully, Nerdy’s sound and message will connect with them. On the plus side, the song is definitely a step up from March’s memeM!

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

46 thoughts on “Song Review: Purple Kiss – Nerdy

  1. Oh, darling daughter is going to love this. Easily a 9 for me.
    Fun, playful, youthful without being young. This group has a sense of style.
    Its something between trot and a polka while still firmly classifiable in the pop genre. The little quote of Billie Eilish Bad Guy bass.
    Da ta ta ta bleep bleep oh kay

    Liked by 7 people

  2. This is a huge step up comparing to boring girl crush shitpiece memeM, which made me rate it in the mid-6’s back in late March, when it was released.
    Unlike Nick, I’ve instantly connected with the new comeback. What I especially love is the gorgeous violin breakdown in the end of the song. Moreover, its horror concept is partially reminiscent of Billie Eilish’s discography, and it makes me love this one even more. On the other hand, I wish there weren’t any of these “na ni na” and “da da da” in the chorus. This fucking onomatopoeia has got extremely dated and grates more and more as the time goes by. 8.5 for me.

    Liked by 6 people

    • See, I don’t mind the ta ta ta bleep bleep’s because there are enough lyrics so that the oh oh la la la di dahs are not the main part of the chorus like other groups use. I get a sense that the composer wanted there to be as much singing itself so the la na na ni na serve as a connective tissue as the end of one line curls around to the next line, so there is minimal empty non-vocal space. Also, each time they repeat those na na bleep bleep click it is a different la ta ta, which adds a little bit more interest.

      Someone is almost always making noises, and that is part of the point of the composition. That is what adds to the creepiness is that they just won’t let go and stop, they just keep at it, until the Bad Guy bass break and then we get a bit of a breather.

      Liked by 7 people

            • Oh, Nick, where so am her music is clearly the highest form of art and misunderstanding it so tragic and shows such a lack of taste that you should be launched off the planet along with Elon Musk. Plus you are obviously shaming her body and fashion choices. (Even if you have no idea what she looks like because you haven’t been a teen in well, well over a decade!). I have a feeling you know the type!

              Liked by 3 people

          • I will be honest, I encounter far more of the “yeah Billie Eilish obviously sucks; we listen to *real* music with 10M views instead of 100M views” types than the rabid fan types. And not all her defenders are angsty teen types—one of my college music professors in his 60s used a song of hers as an example of interesting production!

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            • Well, the music industry has always had female singers that earned haters because their message either drew attention to an injustice, lauded a behavioral pattern that “common good folk” consider disdainful, or just rocked the boat by shining a light on the taboo.

              Back in the mid 90s, there was a wave of female singers that were creating a stir for one reason or another, such as: Alanis Morissette: “Jagged Little Pill” (Album, 1995) / Fiona Apple: “Criminal” (Song, 1996) / Tracy Bonham: “Mother Mother” (Song, 1996) / Helen Reddy: “I Am Woman” (Song, 1996). Others include Cyndi Lauper, Katy Perry, Madonna, etc., etc., etc.. Billie Eilish is just one of the latest singers to earn a bullseye on her back for singing about things other than, “I’m in love”, “My heart is broken”, or “How much is that doggy in the window?”.

              Note: It seems men can sing about anything and it barely raises an eyebrow, but as soon as a female walks up to a microphone and melodically espouses an imbalance and/or double-standard, then the torches and pitchforks get drawn. As a man, I’m embarrassed at how quickly and easily the majority of my gender goes into tantrum mode the instant our ego is threatened by a perfectly sound argument.

              Liked by 3 people

            • That’s one of the strange things I really don’t understand with her music. It’s just nothing that new but every song she drops keeps being presented “hail, Billie, thy genius musical auteur whose perfection does not allow a bad song,” though like you, I have watched her slowly get split into the “I am to cool for” vs “She is too cool for you to understand” type camps. I think part of it was that I was already disillusioned by her before most people were aware of her existence. My partner works very closely with Apple, and they had been pushing and prepping her behind the scenes for a few years before she was dropped on the world and had her perform at a few investor and tech parties: So while her a lot of her songs were new to me, I had heard quite a few of her voice and a lot of early renditions of them in slightly different vocal styles too. One thing I will say is that it was definitely interesting to see and unexpected since it’s not like either of us work in the music industry, so getting to see her image and sound change according to the feedback then to see her unleashed on the world and become so popular… definitely not something I will ever get to see again since she was really the first big artist to be pushed directly by the companies that would profit from her streaming and exclusive media deals (or at least that I am aware of). It was pretty reminiscent of K-pop in some ways but also something wholly new (or at least it was new to me!). I just wish I liked her style more so it would be more fun to keep following her career. I’m probably in the minority camp that liked her sophomore album much better than the first but still not enough to want to seek it out to listen to.

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        • I don’t know why, but I assumed you liked Billie’s music. I didn’t know you couldn’t stand it lol. Honestly it’s not for me either

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  3. I think I like the underlying instrumental much more than the actual song. The teasers made me pretty intrigued, and the main nerdy hook is actually good, but listening to the rest I’m not convinced. It’s still pretty good, but I probably won’t be listening to it too much It’s closer to 8 than 7.5 though.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oof, I think the consensus of the readers are gonna be heavily against you this time Nick :”) I also happen to like this one a lot!

    I’m usually also not very fond of onomatopoeia-heavy hooks, but I think they flow pretty well here and really fit the whole quirky dark pop vibe they got going on (which strangely enough is also not a genre I vibe with most of the time lol). I dunno, the song just works for me.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I think I need a few listens and then I’ll come to a full conclusion, but! I definitely like it a lot more than memeM. Unlike their last release, which just pissed me off completely for promising and not delivering, Nerdy is exactly what it should’ve been.
    Love the quirkiness and I think it’s a close to perfect concept for them. Still… some parts are a little boring imo, but I’m satisfied with the song overall.
    I still haven’t listened to the rest of the album, but the intro and the title definitely have my attention.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Guess I’m with the other commenters in that I think this song is pretty good. Comparison has been made but it’s definitely reminiscent of Billie Eilish which is far from a bad thing imo. Besides i think PK does this sound better than most groups do. I also think this fits well with their “witch” thing they got going on. Yes, I’m still mad about the bait and switch w/ the memeM…Pretty Psycho was literally right there.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. For K-Pop, I love it. It might be a very familiar sound internationally, but it isn’t one readily available in Korea yet, and at this point I will take anything that forces more variety into the music the current groups are churning out. While I don’t think this has been a year for standout hits, I’m feeling for more optimistic with recent releases since I am hearing more genres and experimentation now than the umpteenth ITZY knockoff of 2021 and early 2022. Easy 8.5 for me on TBL scale.

    On a side note, why did the early aughts’ “not like other girls” trend have to become as pervasive as the fashion trends and musical influences? Yikes! Unscrupulous therapists are probably salivating at the increased income they know they will be getting from this eventually. Ugh. The line between self-love and putting others down to lift yourself up is a very fine one.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. And wow… I think I am up on that hill with you Nick! 🙃 Finally we found a common point this month!

    If I am asked who I think is the best girl group debuted last year – I would undoubtedly say Purple Kiss for me. But when it comes to the music itself there are countless other groups which have completely won me over like Pixy, Tri.be, Bugaboo, Billlie, Ive etc – but I still haven’t found that completely solid song from Purple Kiss yet.

    Overall I agree Zombie was my fave too and then that ethereal vocal part from Mememem.

    Sometimes I think maybe my standards for these girls is higher and that’s why I keep wanting more. 😅 They are undoubtedly talented, they have amazing vocals and can actually carry a song and maybe that’s why I feel they can still do more.

    Nerdy is ok; It’s fun and I will not say I dislike it. It will probably be kinda catchy with a few listens too and they make it sound good. But I keep feeling they are being held back with songs like this and I know that’s probably kinda nit-picky in nature – but honestly I feel that way only because I really like them and keep wanting to see more 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m really torn on this one, so it’s weirdly gratifying to see people arguing about it. Watching it with the subtitles on, I didn’t like it (reaks of “I’m not like other girls” imo) but I love the instrumental and that violin, and they sing it really damn well. I also think I’m biased; this is exactly the direction I was hoping they would go after Zombie, and I find it way more interesting than the more generic girl crush they’ve done with Mememe. I’ve got high hopes that this is them declaring the group’s direction, since the song has a major “this is who I am, this is what I do” theme. I think it’s a concept that suits them 100% and where they have tons of room to grow.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s supremely catchy and beautifully-constructed, but it’s pretty mannered. Very theatrical – I could hear it in an animated film or modern musical. I can go either way on this – I’ll either love it more in the future, or just trot it out from time to time to perk up my playlists. It’s a lot for three minutes. The rest of the album is solid as hell – they might be my favorite gg after Twice these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kind of adore it now. It slots beautifully alongside Changmin’s Maniac and other wildly arch tracks on my playlist.

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  11. Their best title track alongside with Zombie. feels like its halloween already ! but without the trick, just the treat. I love it. Just like you said, nick. its a step up from memeM ( i kinda forget about it after a month, says a lot. its not bad, just not memorable enough. )
    Also, before the dance break ( the bridge) it sounds like bad guy by billie eilish, and im not even complaining. its a bop.
    That bass is funky as hell and im loving it.

    Probably, one of my favorite title tracks of this year.
    9/10

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Actually, I think “Nerdy” is the most consistent and cohesive track they’ve released in a while. It stays on message (nerds overcoming adversity through witchcraft, ala “The Craft”) with a nicely woven blend of story telling and visual concept, and while, “yes”, there’s quite a few La La, Na Na, Da Da, moments, they didn’t overpower the surrounding lyrics for me. I understand you have a peeve with this and I have an overflowing poorly weaved basket of gripes myself when it comes to this industry.

    In the end though, I think this is my favorite song from them since, “Can We Talk Again?” I’m really digging the “carnival of horrors”(*) music/vibe/visuals and the song is sticking with me after only one listen.

    * Note: I’m getting a weird Sunny Hill tickle from this song and that’s a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yasss, very Sunny Hill, esp the trot beat.
      This here for the kids is “Midnight Circus” from back when.

      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th87K4O6iBE

      Liked by 2 people

  13. They studied at the (G)I-dle school of taking a word that traditionally means uncool, unpopular, or non-conforming, and then saying that they are that word and that they love themselves while they terrorize people. At this point, it feels so generic and disingenuous that it puts a bad taste in my mouth. That violin sample was cool tho.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Geekyland Mini-Album assessment:

    01. “Intro: Bye Bye Bully” – Apropos lead-in to Nerdy
    02. “Nerdy” – Already covered
    03. “FireFlower” – Title track worthy * (Buried Treasure?)
    04. “Can’t Stop Dreamin'” – Obligatory former track inclusion with a touch-up; and it’s a good one. 🙂
    05. “Love Is Dead” – Swanky toe-tapper. The girls are really in the groove this release. Love this. **
    06. “SuMMer RaiN” – S’alright.

    Ref #1 * (PK-FF-03): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1zFF1Lko4k
    Ref #2 ** (PK-LID-05): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrAetys5rz4

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  15. What a fun song, and so cleverly written! Quite a few English-Korean puns.

    For some reason the repeated nana and other onomotopoetia doesn’t bother me. We’ll see how well it ages, but for now this is a banger!

    I’m no longer concerned about the direction Purple Kiss will take their music.

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  16. I love this group and like this song. But I wish the would move away from some of the Mamamoo “sounds.” Some of this song sounds lifted or a least inspired by “Hip.”

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reading the comments now and I’m actually quite surprised, I did not expect to be the only person who HATES this song, lol. I cannot stand the way they make the girls sing in this throaty 2022 Instagram singer voice, and I also just hate this “I’m so quirky” schtick. The melody is super grating and the “nerdy” concept gives me secondhand embarrassment.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m not hearing the Billie Eilish influence very much except in maybe the vocal delivery. This seems more like the natural progression of their sound—similar to the dance MV “Pretty Psycho” and kind of a tonal cross between “memeM” and “Zombie.” Purple Kiss can’t stay cute without going creepy for long, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their next releases sound pretty similar to this.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I agree, I hated memeM and this one felt like a big step up. It still wasn’t completely solid for me, but it’s an okay song.

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