In a K-pop landscape saturated with girl-crush songs, especially following the massive success of BLACKPINK, it has been a struggle to find songs that oppose the trend. This isn’t a dig at BLACKPINK, for I do genuinely enjoy their songs as well. It is just I’d rather have my ears listening to varied kinds of music all the time.
One of the K-pop eras that I miss the most, even if technically, I wasn’t a fan at this point, was in 2015-16 when several ‘cutesy’ girl groups made their debut such as GFRIEND (one of my favorite groups of all time!), Lovelyz, April, among others. Their music was incredible. GFRIEND’s first 4 title tracks are a prime example, probably among the strongest run of title tracks in K-pop history. Glass Bead, Me Gustus Tu, Rough, and Navillera fit nicely into my Legendary K-pop songs list. Anyway, these groups had certain similarities within their songs, with one of its most notable being that the songs always had a strong, soaring melody that worked as extremely effective hooks.
Unknown Girl Group CSR has come to claim this niche in the oversaturated K-pop market and does so with flair. Pop? Pop!, frankly speaking, is one of the top debut songs this year, fitting right in with NewJeans’ Attention and Le Sserafim’s Fearless in terms of sheer quality.
The Song’s opening caught my attention with its dynamic synth and accentuated vocal delivery. Within the first 10 seconds, I already knew that the song was going to be amazing. The melodies, whether in the verses, chorus, or bridge are extremely potent and catchy, taking only one listen to find its way worming into my head for the next few days. There is no singular weak spot melodically, and that is an incredible feat. I cannot say the same with many K-pop songs out there. It is simply perfect.
The production also finds fun ways to build upon the strong foundations it set for itself in the opening. The transition between the chorus and 2nd verse injects a bit of fun and playfulness that I haven’t heard in K-pop songs for a while, and it greatly compliments the song’s hooks and atmosphere. The two components throughout the song were sonically in unison, and it was a joy to experience for the first time.
This song took me back to the first time I listened to Gfriend via Rough, and I was enraptured by the same qualities that I am with Pop. Pop!. I’m greatly thankful that I managed to discover this song via my favorite K-pop review site, The Bias List.
Last but not least, the vocal delivery of the girls harmoniously matched the song. What helped it, even more, is that the members seem to have a basic grasp of vocal technique. The vocals aren’t strained, and they sound great. Perhaps a bit shallow at parts, but I feel that their delivery was also partially stylistic. I haven’t gotten to know the girls’ vocal ability’s in greater detail yet, but the main vocalist seems to be very solid.
Overall, it is easily one of my favorite songs of the year, and definitely worth a listen, especially if you are a fan of Gfriend and their counterparts!
Hooks – 10
Production – 10
Vocal Delivery – 9
Overall – 10