Last time I wrote about ILY:1, I was delighted to hear a fluffy pop song that hearkened back to the lighter side of girl group music. Que Sera Sera struggled with execution, but its influence from classics like Apink and Lovelyz offered a welcome counterpoint to the popular “girl crush” trend. With new single Twinkle Twinkle (별꽃동화), the group has journeyed even farther in this direction. They’ve teamed up with Oh My Girl’s old production team for a song that sounds like a 2023 version of 2018’s Secret Garden.
I’m not complaining. This is a sound I tend to enjoy and it’s becoming harder to find in K-pop. From its opening synths, Twinkle Twinkle plays like a needed salve. It has that soft, slightly majestic sound that characterized much of Lovelyz’s discography – a high water mark indeed. Like Que Sera Sera, the track suffers a bit from its execution. The vocals aren’t always delivered or mixed perfectly and that stands out in a smooth production like this. To put it bluntly, you can tell when you’re getting a knockoff version of a name brand product.
Still, I’m happy to go along on Twinkle’s ride. Its melodies wash over with a calming effect, unveiling slowly and carefully before bursting into a chorus that harnesses a more propulsive beat. This is a classic Oh My Girl trick and still pays dividends, especially when paired with a crystalline blend of synths and a hook that feels ripped straight from a fairytale. Though the song isn’t perfect (that vocal ad-lib in the verses is way too loud), this is easily ILY:1’s strongest title track yet.