Nature’s Code W is the first in a string of postponed idol comebacks we’ll see over the next week or so. And, the girls have taken a sledgehammer to K-pop’s brief hiatus, re-emerging with the bonkers Limbo (넘어와). This is the group who gave us the insanity of Oopsie (My Bad) and Rica Rica, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Still, Limbo‘s eccentric choices are sure to polarize opinion.
Before I say anything about the song itself, I want to make it clear how much I appreciate the balls-to-the-wall energy Nature have unleashed with Limbo. It’s a mess. But, it’s a confident mess that pulls no punches. That’s what I like to see in K-pop, even if the results aren’t always as strong as they could be. At its best, the track’s strutting electro beat reminds me of T-ara or Crayon Pop at their irreverent peak. When the production remains focused, it delivers a brisk energy that works well with the inherent silliness of the lyrics. The chorus is ridiculous, but it’s certainly not boring!
Then, we go full-tilt madness for Limbo’s frenetic post-chorus. I love this moment. Rather than opt for the perfunctory half-time breakdown, the track speeds impossibly fast for a sonic freakout that forges an unexpected climax. It’s as if Nature placed the industry’s iconic ‘2x speed dance challenge’ into an actual song. Unfortunately, this breath of fresh air is immediately followed by… a perfunctory half-time breakdown. This is where Limbo becomes frustrating. It’s as if the music is afraid of its own ambition, retreating to overused tropes right when it should be blasting them open. These missed opportunities hold Limbo back from greatness, but overall this is campy fun.