Review

Song Review: Golden Child – Replay

Golden Child - ReplayOne of the most frustrating things about this era of K-pop is that — with all its sonic and producer shifts — there aren’t many groups I can count on to consistently release music I’ll love. It can feel like a total grab bag, and after Golden Child’s regrettable Japanese discography earlier this year I was worried they may be the next act to lose my trust. But, there’s a reason they’ve featured in my year-end countdowns a total of twelve (!) times since debut. They make great music and perform the hell out of it. New single Replay is yet another example of their power.

Look, I’ve been riding the Golden Child train since 2017. Sometimes it feels as if I’m riding it on my own! I’ll forgive anyone for being tired of reading my tweets about them — both the effusive and anxiety-ridden ones. But, I’m not the type to instantly love a song just because a favorite group releases it. I’ve been a little hard on their title tracks of late, and I approach each comeback with an unhealthy level of worry and skepticism. This makes it all the sweeter when a dynamite track like Replay comes around. The song takes so many of the group’s strengths and tethers them to a taut, dynamic dance banger that echoes K-pop’s past while looking firmly to the future.

It’s been a dire year for boy group music, with so many acts shouting and blustering their way through sound-alike tracks. We’ve gotten to the point where I question whether these groups can actually hold a tune. I wouldn’t call Replay melodic, per se. But, it’s certainly vocal-focused. Just listen to that gutsy opening line! Joochan attacks the song, warping his smooth tone with a gritty edge that instantly captures attention. The instrumental compliments this texture, slamming in with jagged electronics.

Given how dominant their presence is, it’s impossible to remove Golden Child from Replay. But, the production here is incredibly dynamic on its own. Intricate, explosive synth fuses to a future house beat that keeps energy focused all the way to the end. And rather than grow repetitive, the track injects bombastic rock guitar breakdowns to create two standout showcases of frenzied intensity. Coupled with the guys’ powerful vocals, this arrangement takes me back to K-pop’s second generation in the best way. I’m shocked that Replay emerges from a team of little-known producers with a handful of ballad and mid-tempo b-sides to their name. Woollim Entertainment may suck at promoting their acts, but their A&R department always know how to pick a song.

Replay is a rush. It hangs together so well, able to shift sounds and energy levels without feeling piecemeal. It harnesses the key element that so many modern K-pop tracks forget: momentum. Even down a member, Golden Child seize the opportunity and drive the song forward with intensity and panache. This is what they’re capable of. Don’t forget that.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5

55 thoughts on “Song Review: Golden Child – Replay

  1. damn, new woollim logo just dropped

    anyway, this song is good. like. really good. second favorite song of the year after forever 1

    and to celebrate how good this song is, im gonna scream “rata tat tat” as loud as possible on my roof

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve been complaining throughout the entire 2022 how much noisy shit there’s been released by BGs, despite some standouts. And here comes this one. So delighted to see Golcha selling the hell out of their songs! Still, I find the arrangement kinda lackadaisical, but I guess that it was just me who forgot to turn the volume up on my phone during the listen. At the moment, this song is a 9 for me (8,9,9,10).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I absolutely loved this! Besides the awesome vocals from Joochan and Y and the really cool raps; the instrumental is absolutely killer! And I always appreciate a song that starts on a high! Yeah sure build-up is fun, but why do that when you you can just hit the top right from the beginning?! Golcha is as satisfying as ever and I’m hyped for the live stages because they always perform the heck out of a song!

    And for once I found the MV non-distracting as well lol, so bonus points! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Golcha always reminded me why I always gotta keep an eye on them. This was spectacular, instant love for me. I did miss their leader’s powerful vocal, some parts of the song needed that robust sound of his but they distributed the lines well, giving other members their time to shine. I was particularly waiting for a song that gave their main dancer a push, but I didn’t realize he would be pushed as vocalist!!!!! I love his tone so much, it’s quite distinctive!

    Joochan’s vocal agility is the highlight for me. It’s the same way how his voice completely made what Lucid dream is, iconic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Holy shit man, this is fantastic. The entire mini sounds fantastic. This exactly reminded me on why I love Golcha so much, the powerful vocals, charm and overall talent just hits so damn hard. And the melodies? so damn good, I just wanna jump into Spotify and start munching on them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Okay. This is very, very, very good.

    It doesn’t sabotage its own momentum, the vocals and vocal melodies are great, and those glitchy synths (and that chugging guitar! Those harmonics in there, I see you!) are so satisfying. 9+ for me, for sure.

    Between this, the whole ATEEZ album, and the upcoming ONF special album, my faith in boy group music just may have been restored…

    Liked by 5 people

      • Yessssss. I also happen to love A.C.E a lot, cannot wait for them to come back from enlistment.

        N.Flying is my favorite K-rock band at the moment. I definitely need to listen to more Lucy, I’ve heard good things about them. Favorite tracks?

        Missing Day6, too…

        Liked by 3 people

        • A.C.E is also fantastic! I think my main qualm with them was that there wasn’t any frequent comebacks but these guys have released some absolute bangers.

          For Lucy, I think I’d recommend these specific projects from them:
          Stove (my personal favorite from them!)
          Snooze
          Flare
          The Entire Gatcha album! (banger after banger)
          Irrelevant Answer
          Hero

          I am still in the midst of discovering most of their material, but these are my absolute favorite from them! They have this whimsical, fantastical adventurous sound which you can’t find anywhere else in K-pop.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Have I gone insane? This song is disappointment of the year!

    Is this a grower? 5 listens and it feels like garbled mess, poorly paced, no memorable chorus/hook, and drowning vocals.

    Like

  8. Such is the state of kpop: I queued up both boy groups released this morning, Golcha and The Boyz, and I could swear that I thought the fast one was The Boyz and the slow one was Golcha. With sounds so interchangeable these days, much later I figured out I had it backwards.

    Yes, please. Alrighty, ok ok ok, it sounds like last years Mirae “Killa” and this years RoadB “Don’t Stop” got together and had a baby. Try it! One measure before the chorus kicks in, shout “we are we are we are Killa!”. Except, unlike Mirae and RoadB, these guys have a bigger budget to polish it all to a high shine, and some outstanding seasoned performers to sell the extra special super shit out of it.

    I love it a lot, small ell love. Minus a bit for sounding like others. Somewhere in the mid-8’s for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. OMG. This is seriously awesome. After listening to it, it feels like I’ve been run over a train (in a good way). Those breakdowns pull out all the stops in the best way. Also, Donghyun got some big moments here and he really killed it, reminded again of how much I like his voice.

    Also, the whole thing sounds a bit like Cyberpunk. ATEEZ and Golcha should collab one day.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This song made me renew my Kpop subscription for another year. Sounds pretty similar to other groups, but it’s actually enjoyable to listen to. This is what the standard boy group template should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Seeing Nick get so excited over this EP has been genuinely wonderful. Sharing so many reviews and writing for so many paragraphs, it is wonderful. I love the production here too.

    That said… I feel this MIRAE-ATEEZ hybrid track needs a little bit stronger melody. It still works, and is likely a high 8 still for me. That said, the energy amongst the fandom and blogosphere is really making sure I will hear this song at least 10-15 more times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have to agree, the production and vocals on this are superb and deserving of that 9.5 but I can’t quite find enough to grab onto here in terms of catchiness/memorability. Nick has mentioned he likes when a melody has an unexpected “twist” to it that keeps it in your brain a la ‘Stay’ and I find myself wanting for that here. If it were just a bit hookier in the chorus it would be amongst GC’s best for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I have to agree, the production and vocals on this are superb and deserving of that 9.5 but I can’t quite find enough to grab onto here in terms of catchiness/memorability. Nick has mentioned he likes when a melody has an unexpected “twist” to it that keeps it in your brain a la ‘Stay’ and I find myself wanting for that here. If it were just a bit hookier in the chorus it would be amongst GC’s best for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm… for me (after several listens in various settings), that “twist” comes at the end of each part of the chorus. The melody here opens with such a tense, looping repetition before suddenly opening up and stretching out. I find this contrast very effective — kind of like being stuck in a maze before finally finding your way out, if that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I like that comparison, and I see what you mean! It’s already growing on me, so it could absolutely be one of those choruses that strengthens over time and really ingratiates itself.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s for sure one of my favorite songs this year, and I greatly enjoyed listening to the album. This song reminds me a lot of Verivery’s Heart attack and considering it was one of my favorite songs from last year, only made it a guarantee I’ll enjoy Replay.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Their voices always sound SO GOOD. I don’t find it particularly catchy though. I like listening to it but don’t remember what it sounds like after it stops. But I still want to hear it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey Nick!
    I’ve always checked back in and out of your reviews over probably the last 5 ish years – always really liked your takes on everything and how much you pay attention to. You do a great job and hope you keep it up!
    Now I’m a pretty new songwriter/topliner in the kpop scene, but I was fortunate enough to compose the vocals for Replay! It’s funny you mentioned the producers had b-sides and ballads to their name, cause I quite literally have only 1 ballad and 1 b-side to my name so far haha…
    But your review for Replay really made my day, maybe my whole month haha, super glad you enjoyed it and super glad Golden Child was able to showcase that energy and power that everyone knew they had. They have great potential and as many of you guys mentioned, they have many great songs. Hope you keep supporting them, and thank you again Nick!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so glad you saw this review!

      I hope you’re able to peruse the comments and read how much everyone loves this song. Seriously… thank you so much for Replay. It’s fantastic and delivers the perfect punch of energy K-pop has been missing this year. What an opening salvo for your first title track in the industry! Best of luck on future endeavors and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

      Like

    • Thank you so much for composing the vocals on this track! It was fantastic! I hope you make more songs in the future and enjoy whilst doing so!

      Like

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