gugudan: Chococo Review

Oh, hell yes. Amazing. I live for weird comebacks, and gugudan’s “Chococo” is the weirdest music video I’ve seen since…hmm…maybe since “Blood, Sweat and Tears” came out, to be honest. “Chococo” is a different brand of weird, though, drawing its strangeness not from outrageous plot or artsy symbolism but from bizarre, trippy CGI, a looming creepy china doll, and alien-looking Hershey Kiss hats. Such an MV would be pointless if not accompanied by an equally strange song, but “Chococo” is no disappointment in that respect. I couldn’t claim that it’s gugudan’s best song, but nor is it bad by any stretch of the imagination, and in some ways the song quality doesn’t even matter—the salient point of this comeback is the weird concept, and I hope it catches people’s eyes because gugudan has some bops that should be more well known.

The most striking thing about “Chococo” is its unusual composition. Girl group songs that include sing-talking and cutesy “na-na-na”s typically employ pastel or even insipid major chords, the kind that pass by without being noticed. Alternatively, you might occasionally hear some minor chords that are equally unobtrusive, centering the focus on the girls’ performance rather than on the music itself. “Chococo” makes all opposite moves. The composition here is much darker and more colorful. The vocal melody even follows the chord progression in multiple places rather than establishing its own tune, replicating the pattern with vocals so that the color stands out even more, for example in the “na-na-na, I will melt away” hook. The combination of the sometimes dark melody with the upbeat, cute rhythm and production is faintly uncomfortable, and there’s certainly a feeling of creepiness emanating from this title track. It’s only appropriate, as the song’s concept is based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the lyrics urge the addressee to drop everything and follow gugudan into a new and exhilarating world of chocolate, saying that it’s “our sweet little secret.”

Even despite the creepiness, or maybe partly because of it, I loved “Chococo” even before I was thirty seconds in. This was largely due to the interesting composition, but also due in part to the curiously melodic sound of the electric guitar and the ear-pleasing harmonies in the verses, as well as Sejeong’s ever-impressive vocals. Unfortunately, the other two songs on single “Chococo Factory” left far less of an impression, which was disappointing given that those curious about gugudan after this music video may look up the rest of the album before going anywhere else. “Lucky” is entertaining despite its overly busy instrumental, but “Snowball” doesn’t have much going for it besides a fair chorus melody. Honestly, “Chococo” is so cool that I don’t even mind too much. I’ve been a fan of gugudan since they broke out of the girl group cute trope with “A Girl Like Me” and I’m excited to seeing them continue to make unique moves.




Take a look at gugudan’s “Chococo” MV below:

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