Since 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!