Song Review: Kep1er – Wing Wing

Kep1er - Wing WingMNET has their multi-national K-pop formula down to a science. Bring together members from various countries and you have natural inroads for promotion in lucrative markets like Japan. Funnel your acts into agency-sponsored events like KCON and you’ve got a built-in venue with thousands of eager listeners. All K-pop is business, but it’s hard not to see groups like Kep1er as particularly market-focused. A song like Wing Wing doesn’t help dissuade that argument.

Wing Wing is Kep1er’s Japanese debut, though it would sound equally at home on Korean charts. It furthers the group’s hyper-energetic, chant-based style. The song is in-your-face and unrelenting. It’s decidedly not for me.

I’ve been spending the past week enjoying CSR’s debut album and remembering how much I love girl group music when it’s built upon robust melodies. In contrast, a song like Wing Wing is driven by catchphrasey sing-talk and enthusiastic onomatopoeias. The percussive instrumental has tons of potential, accented by keys and guitar that give it a dancefloor drive. But, I just can’t connect with the actual song thrown over the top. It feels like every moment is designed to be as blunt-force loud as possible, from the “da da da, doo doo doo” to the stretched out “wiiiiiiiiing” in the chorus.

Look, I appreciate that this sound has connected with so many listeners. It’s clearly popular, and in some rare cases it works for me too. But, it also feels like the most callous form of K-pop commercialization, where empty platitudes (“enjoy your dream!”) and “ah ya ya’s” substitute for musical scope and vision.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6

21 thoughts on “Song Review: Kep1er – Wing Wing

  1. Do you remember back when, there was a month with a release each day every day from girl groups that sounded just like this. February 2020. We had our pick of Elris, Weki Meki, Cherry Bullet, and those are just the ones I bought. My go-to choice was Rocket Punch “Bouncy”, which I played the shit out of.

    Do the kids still want this sound these days? It seems forever ago.


    • I don’t think cherry bullet’s “hands up” sounds anything like this. With “jackpot” and “dazzle dazzle” I see it


        • I think for the crazy month of releases, everyone picked about two-ish that each found interesting, each for their own reason. For me it would be Bouncy > Hands up > Jackpot > So What > this one > Dazzle Dazzle (because I don’t even have Dazzle Dazzle)
          To each his or her own.


  2. Hey Nick, what do you think about U-KISS Soohyun’s The Soju Fairy? it came out of nowhere for me, but lowkey reminds me of IU’s early years
    not your typical solo material these days i guess…


  3. I love Kep1er, and it’s good if there was a favorable reaction for this song because mnet has already made them suffer too much by sending them to shows like Queendom for nothing. However, I doubt that these noisy and trend-based songs will help to build a “Kep1er sound” that raises the popularity and musical quality of the group given the short life they will have.
    This was a song with an “Up” aesthetic but that deep down still wants to be a WADADA. I felt betrayed. 5/10


  4. i don’t mind anything about this, but i don’t think it’s going to stick with me. it also feels HEAVILY indebted to niziu’s style (from whom i quite like take a picture and chopsticks and am largely neutral on the rest of their discography). glad to see mashiro getting more lines and screentime though!


    • They aren’t a group like Nature, whose Japanese member’s lines in their Japanese releases amounts to 2 grunts and a sneeze.


  5. After the final show of GP999, I thought: No! Not interested! My favorite contestant (and one of the most talented) Yurina did not make the final after being either 1 or 2 throughout the whole show! I smugly chuckled when they debuted with “Wa Da DA” thinking that my virtue would remain untarnished. Then I somehow stumbled upon “MVSK,” and thought: My favorite IZ*ONE song “Sequence” has a little sister!!!? So now I will begrudgingly listen to what they’re offering. This song had potential! The pre-chorus is great, but those “Kill This Love” synth horn stabs in the chorus are what ruin it for me. This i9s a Japanese song, but did they have someone in Japan mix this track? Meanwhile, while we are debating the highs and lows of this group, Yurina is laughing herself in an invariably bank-wards direction. I’ll put it in my JPop playlist, which unfortunately gets very little love.


  6. I was totally disgusted while listening to this. The song has got such a promising instrumental, but, unfortunately, huge heaps of onomatopoeia and cheerleader chanting ruin it, which resulted in me turning off the song after the first chorus. 7 for this one seems too generous, 6/10 at best for me.


    • Gosh, I agree. It’s like they mixed up their 2 Korean title tracks – and it works. Or, if you want another way to put it, it’s a spicier version of 2020’s Beware. This one’s a better sung chorus at least!


  7. I listened to it once and haven’t tried to replay it since. Doesn’t really hold a candle to Up which was saved by its “lightning-in-a-bottle”-good chorus. Looking at how many girl groups are debuting with an already strong sense of direction and identity, I found Kep1er just being all over the place, which shows that survival show craze is on its way out.


  8. I really want to like Kep1er, despite my saltiness at Yurina not getting in, because I’m a Cheshire and love Yujin and want to support her.

    But none of their music has really wowed me. This hasn’t moved the needle, sadly.

    I feel this way about VIVIZ as well (GFriend was one of my ult groups, and is the one of them I’ve actually seen live) and it’s a frustrating state of affairs to be honest.


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