CSR’s summer debut stands as one of my favorites from 2022, opting for a bright, poppy sound that hearkened back to past K-pop eras. Not only that, but the girls enlisted my beloved Sweetune for a b-side! Since that debut, CSR have been sharing various dance covers of early-GFriend songs – a style I desperately hope they explore in the future. But, new single ♡TiCON (러브티콘) opts for a sugar rush energy instead of powerful, melodic grace.
For this go-around, CSR have worked with an incredible team of producers. We’ve got Hwang Hyun – once part of Sweetune and now the guiding light behind ONF’s incredible singles run. He’s paired with fellow Monotree teammate Yoon Jongseong and e.one’s Hohyun. ♡TiCON should be a slam dunk, and the fact I have reservations at all is giving me pause.
At its heart, this is a good song. It features nice melodies, an exciting chorus and plenty of fizzy 80’s synths to keep the energy aloft. It’s bright and punchy and intently focused on having a good time. ♡TiCON ticks a lot of boxes, yet I’m not as impressed as I was after first hearing Pop? Pop!. There’s a bit too much aegyo for my taste, including a veritable army of cheerleader chants and cutesy posturing. CSR is still a very young group, so this approach makes sense. It fits them well, but it’s also kind of constraining. Maybe this is just another case of ‘expectations vs. reality.” I’m desperately waiting for another Rough or Me Gustas Tu or Navillera. That’s a ridiculously high standard to hold them to, and probably too much to ask at this stage in their career. But when I see potential, it’s hard not to extrapolate where that could lead!