Song Review: Kwon Eunbi – Underwater

Kwon Eunbi - UnderwaterSay what you will about Woollim Entertainment’s dicey promotion, but their team sure knows their way around a good song. The agency’s output this year has ranged from ‘very good’ to ‘excellent,’ with a refreshing independent streak that doesn’t always kowtow to trends. Soloist Kwon Eunbi seemed to find her niche with this spring’s Glitch – an icy dance track that reveled in its own artificiality. New single Underwater feels warmer in tone and texture, but no less beguiling.

Right from the start, Underwater teases its big chorus. A catchy (vaguely familiar?) synthline launches the instrumental and drives both verse and pre-chorus. It modulates slightly as the song goes on, but the melodic roadmap is clear all the way through. This has the potential to become overly repetitive, and I worry about that in the long run. But, the counter melodies in the verses are strong enough to compete. And, when the chorus eventually comes around, the production is given a boost that helps it stand out.

Underwater is the kind of track that makes a big impact the first time through. You’ll be humming the melody after one listen. Again, I think this might be to the song’s detriment in the long run. It’s not what I’d call melodically diverse. But, Eunbi’s performance goes a long way in selling the intensity of that hook. And when Underwater veers toward house piano for its bridge, we get a peek at the varied sonic texture she’s capable of exploring.

Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Grade: B

19 thoughts on “Song Review: Kwon Eunbi – Underwater

  1. Really enjoyed this! I feel like Eunbi had yet to flex some of her more powerful vocals that were so present in Iz*one, but here they’re center stage. Sure Glitch had it’s moments, but that was sleeker and more restrained. Here it is euro-pop reggaeton glory.
    I also think this song could end up feeling a bit repetitive but the respective parts make it a strong and very enjoyable track. and yes, those opening synths are very 2010’s EDM intro synth riff.
    Anyways, verry very good, I’m really into it.

    Also with this, Illella, and judging from the previews of the upcoming Le SSerafim track, I feel like reggaeton/moombaton trend is coming back in full swing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This song made me wonder where the hell Sunmi and Chungha have disappeared to.
    Also, there it is, 0:45 the drum sample everyone overuses. I have no doubt that the little synth blip in the chorus (at 0:58 and elsewhere) is also from the same Kshmr sample pack.
    Its a pass for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. At first listen, I’m unsure whether to put it on my favorites. The chorus has that melody you’ll remember instantly. It also highlights the power in her belts that wasn’t quite explored in “Glitch”. If Eunbi’s team wants to reach more to the general public, this is a relatively good title track for that.

    However, I feel like… this is either those type of song you’ve heard 1000 times before, or something from the B-side collection of Twice, LOONA, or ChungHa. It’s a generic banger any other singer can possibly buy. I’m surprised you didn’t put any commentaries regarding the, sort of, chime-ish intro.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothing outstanding, just generic tropical house fare. If the house piano-led instrumental from the bridge was extended to the rest of the track, would have liked it more. I’m giving this a flat 8.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I liked this a lot more than Chaeyeon’s debut, mainly because the melodies were actually pretty good this time round. While the tropical sound has been done in the past, something about it released right now makes it sound fresher than it actually is. The texture of the sound in nice and interesting, and all in all pretty solid!

    (9,9,8,9) = 8.75

    Probably inflated but at first impression like you pointed out it is pretty strong, and so far I am sold.


  6. Eunbi was one of the first to ride the wave of debuts post-IZ. While she’s succeeded in making a splash, some of her releases barely kept her head above the water. Still, if you wade through all of the post-IZ members efforts, Eunbi’s releases seem less adrift. I’m not saying she’s walking on water at this point, but it’s definitely been more smooth sailing for her than the others. This release isn’t sink or swim. It’s a floater to keep her name out there for now. We’ll see what she brings the next time the tide rolls back in.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Living in the land down under, I heard this song last night. It was good, I wish it was longer though. Then I slept and woke up, and I listened to it again. I like it more now, this is gonna be a grower.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eunbi attended the Chungha School of Tropical-Flavoured Dance Bangers for this and I am SO glad she did! It’s a sound that works with her voice so well and I love how full-blooded the chorus is. Her solo career has been a lot of fun and with just three title tracks she’s explored very different genres. I’m incredibly excited to see what she does next, and have full confidence she’ll devour whatever sound she tries.


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