Limelight’s Starlight is one of those weird “pre-debuts” the K-pop industry occasionally churns out. It’s part of an actual mini album, which makes it feel more like a proper debut to me. But, what do I know? With members hailing from Girls Planet 999 and My Teenage Girl, the group has some built-in fans already. And, Starlight was co-composed by Sweetune’s Kim Seungsoo. You know that has my ears perked up!
The problem is, I find most of Seungsoo’s non-Sweetune work to be pretty uninspired. It’s weird how he can create such insta-classics with songwriting partner Han Jaeho and then come up with something as bland as Starlight when working with others. Starlight isn’t a bad track, but it lacks the compelling melodic flourishes I’d expect from someone of Seungsoo’s caliber. Its blueprint seems to be WJSN. Starlight feels very much like part of their oeuvre. But, it’s stuck in a single gear and plays more like homage than highlight.
My big problem with Starlight is how clipped every melody is. WJSN have perfected this style of vocalization, but employ it strategically within music that’s more fluid and varied overall. Starlight’s verses and chorus move at such speed that you can barely find a foothold. This melodic structure quickly becomes exhausting because there aren’t any peaks or valleys. This makes it hard to get a sense of Limelight’s personality. The production is polished and the track is performed well, but some weird choices keep it from soaring.