Hidden Gem: Replay by Golden Child

Golden Child is one of those groups who are in a weird position, popularity-wise at least. They debuted in late 2017, during the transition phase between 3rd and 4th Gen. With the lack of ‘big famous’ groups that debuted in this period (for example, on the level of Seventeen, BTS, EXO, etc.) they somewhat faded in the background along with them. They aren’t well known among casual K-pop fans, but their fanbase is very solid and loyal. I would not have known of them if it were not for my favorite K-pop review website, the bias list, but I’m quite thankful to have been exposed to their music.

In my opinion, at least, Golden Child has delivered some of the best K-pop songs in recent years despite remaining under the radar for most K-pop stans. Replay has not only kept up with this trend but finds itself to be one of the best title tracks in their discography despite being released only for a couple of days.

Replay’s hooks are sleek and melody-driven. It is most apparent in its knock-out chorus, propulsive, high-energy, and sung with conviction. It is satisfying when the chorus just comes in, and it ends with an effective English phrase that glues the melody altogether, namely, ‘we can replayyyy’. This is a good example of great songwriting, where the melody does not get tiring to listen to and is very fleshed out. Additionally, the spoken adlibs were used very effectively to maintain the attitude and energy of the whole song. They were used in tandem with the melody to act as transitions between sections, preventing them from being jarring. Some parts such as the verses may not be something I will remember after I listen to it, but the chorus seals the deal.

Its production hits all the right spots, from the opening of the chorus that gets you grooving to its beat, from its post-chorus that ramps up its energy one more time before finally letting go to move on to the verses, from its use of dynamics and texture, it simply gets it right. This is one of my favorite pieces of song production in this year’s K-pop. This song’s producers knew exactly what to do to maximize this song’s overall impact and they executed it perfectly.

The vocal delivery was great. The members sang with absolute conviction. It is hard to not be pulled into the song when they sound like they truly believed in what they are singing. Relatively minor, but I wonder what this song would sound like if the highest bits were sung in a more chesty, belt-like tone rather than a mix because I believe it may have even further enhanced the song’s impact. However, it is not something that pulls down the song’s quality when the songwriting and production are already top-notch.

The raps were also delivered quite well, sounding a lot more convincing than 70% of all K-pop raps (lol!) so it is a yes for me.

All in all, Replay is easily one of the best title tracks of the year. The best way to describe this song is that it sounds exactly what it should sound like. This kind of epiphany is not something I think of frequently, and I’m very satisfied that Golden Child has released another high-quality comeback. Such consistency can only be applauded.

Hooks – 10
Production – 10
Vocal Delivery – 10
Rap Delivery – 10
Overall – 10

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