SONAMOO is surely one of the most underrated girl groups in K-pop today. Having debuted in 2014 under TS Entertainment at the same time that the agency’s reputation crashed after popular boy group B.A.P. sued them for maltreatment, SONAMOO has had some bad luck over the years. They debuted with an unpopular bad-girl concept in “Deja Vu,” followed that up with title track “Cushion” whose lyrics are among the absolute cringiest K-pop has ever seen (although the song itself is excellent), and carried on for two more comebacks with unnoticeable cute concepts that more or less faded into the background of 2016’s excess of cute girl groups. Still, their EPs have always had depth, and the recent “Happy Box” project has been pushing SONAMOO into new territory. A few months ago, “Happy Box Pt. 1” delivered a slick, glamorous concept change with the irresistible dance track “Friday Night,” and “Happy Box Pt. 2” is back with further concept development in “I (Knew It).” I can’t say this title track packs quite the punch that “Friday Night” did, but I think the baroque concept of “I (Knew It)” is a step in the right direction for SONAMOO.
“I (Knew It)” grounds its style in a bold, slightly Latin-sounding combination of guitar and horns. The rhythm is striking, and SONAMOO’s rap and vocal talents must not be overlooked. However, the construction of the chorus relies too much on the big horns in the instrumental and not enough on vocal melody, which ultimately subtracts power from the chorus. The lack of catchy vocal hook is the biggest issue in “I (Knew It),” because SONAMOO needs to have some memorable tricks up their sleeve right now if they want to move forward.
I can’t review “I (Knew It)” without mentioning its mini-B-side, “Prequel.” Ugh! What a shame that the “Prequel” is not a full song! It’s one of the most interesting things I’ve heard from SONAMOO. The minute-long track applies a funky twist to its EDM core, with excellent, if brief, vocals and melody. Personally I much preferred this track to “I (Knew It),” even if it’s over in a blink. But I hope “I (Knew It)” gets some attention from the Korean public, as it’s about time these ladies get some more recognition for the jams they’ve been turning out.
I (KNEW IT): KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? A bop it is.
Take a look at SONAMOO’s “I (Knew It)” MV below: