Song Review: CSR – Pop? Pop!

CSR - Pop Pop!Around 2015-2016, K-pop saw a boom of what most would call wistful, “cutesy” girl groups. On its face, this description feels a bit reductive, but the music itself was universally strong. Lovelyz, April, Laboum… early GFriend! These groups delivered a headrush of candy-coated pop hooks that emphasized vocal ability and sweeping, soaring melody. It’s a sub-genre I’ve missed greatly over the past few years, ever since the shoutier, more attitude-driven “girl crush” concept has taken hold.

Enter, CSR. These girls feel like a breath of fresh air, zigging while all their peers zag. Had debut single Pop? Pop! emerged back in 2016, it likely would have gotten lost in the shuffle. In 2022, it feels almost like a revelation. Composed by relatively new production team FAB, the track bounds along bright, exciting synths and effusive percussion. It’s a sparkling pinwheel of a song, intent on making every moment as catchy as the next.

This is evident right from the start, as Pop? Pop!’s titular exclamation frames the verses in a fun, animated way. Things slow a bit for the pre-chorus but it’s not long until we burst into an ultra-catchy hook that plays 2016’s “fresh” sound to the hilt. This chorus feels ripped right from Lovelyz’s (supremely underrated) discography in the best way. Better yet, Pop? Pop! grows more layered and inventive as it goes on. A fantastic breakdown injects needed edge late in the track, but even before this moment the second verse surges with added percussion (and brass!) that makes Pop? Pop! feel like an ever-growing explosion of joy. Along with RoaD-B, these unknown groups from small agencies are single-handedly honoring K-pop’s illustrious past. Now, we just need to get people listening!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


33 thoughts on “Song Review: CSR – Pop? Pop!

  1. This is truly fabulous, Lovelyz meets early G-Friend in the best possible way. The b-side they also performed was fantastic too.

    Where have these girls come from???

    Liked by 6 people

  2. For anyone who’s wondering where to find this and the mini album on Spotify, we’ll have to wait till 28th July 6pm KST. Oh the agony…

    Happy we got to see CSR perform the Sweetune bside for their showcase and I just wanna say… The song did not disappoint.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s what I thought. It took me about 30 seconds in to check my ears that they were actually singing in Korean. I guess it is the synth accompaniment to the vocals that make it sound a little vocaloid.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Considering this song is made by the same composer who made Pantomime, I’m not surprised it’s this good. The heavy synths and lovely layering is quite evident in both songs, and it’s just done so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is one of the signature sounds of kpop, and it’s so refreshing to hear it come back. I hope they’re able to stick with this type of music for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A 9??? Really. I can understand maybe an 8 at a push and. I know people will cream over it just to agree with you but… man you really are wrecking your scale by giving this sort of stuff such a high grade. I genuinely think your taste may have completely dropped off over the past few years which is fine but I just don’t trust some of your music taste anymore. Still enjoyed the review though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good grief this is pure treacle. I find this sort of syrupy sweetness very unpleasant and am happy to go right back to shouty girl crush. I’m sure it’s a fabulous example of its kind and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always open for more Kpop songs like this. Even in 2015-2016, as uninspired as they were, they always deliver big grand chorus that never could replicated by current shouty trend. One thing I dislike with this song is the in-your-face added drum and bassline (?) which sounds like Lovelyz remix track.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the song, but in true Kpop fashion, this is at least the 4th song released this month with “Pop” in the title. They may fill the void that Weeekly left when they went bat-shit crazy with “Ven para.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ever since Lovelyz disbanded last November I’ve been praying for a new rookie girl group to carry their torch. When I heard this song for the first time I was completely swept over and thought “Yep, we’ve finally found one”. More encouraging news is that Yoon Sang recently signed to CSR’s agency (Pop Music) and apparently gave some inputs for the debut, so I really feel like CSR is going to be a legitimate spiritual successor to Lovelyz. This really made my year.

    Oh, and Sweetune composed one of their b-side tracks. What else I could ask for :’)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is beautifully arranged. I think I’m going to enjoy it a lot, but I tend to like stuff with a little bit more swing to it. I can’t say enough nice things about the more modest but no less charming Feeling So Good by CLASS:y.


  11. Immediately thought of Nick when I heard this song and saw that Sweetune had been working with these girls.

    Maybe not a 9 for me, but a good song and a welcome sound!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. found out that this song was made by the same person who made wjsn’s pantomime (kim jinhwan)! knew that electronic sound and arrangement style was familiar from somewhere, and i’m so happy to hear more works from them :’)


    • I saw someone mentioned that as well on Kpop reddit and I thought “hey you guys are right, it does sound like that guy’s style”

      And then I looked at Melon (Korean’s music site and go-to-place to find Korean composers’ works) and apparently Kim Jinhwan who took part in CSR’s title track isn’t the same Kim Jinhwan as the one who did WJSN’s Pantomime 🤔

      Still agree with you though that the electronic style (especially in the rap bridge) just seems so much like Kim Jinhwan’s for that WJSN bside!


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