Finally, it’s happening. LOONA’s road to debut, paved by 18 different singles, is reaching its destination. Ahead of their official debut later this month, the girl group has released their first song as a full group: prerelease track “favOriTe.” What “favOriTe” might sound like could not have been more up in the air prior to its release, given that LOONA has established a reputation for covering so many genres with their individual member releases and unit releases. Fans wondered whether the full group’s music would take from one unit’s sound more than another, or attempt to combine the genres of previous releases. “favOriTe” does neither. It dives into a decidedly new sound that evades categorization, hovering somewhere just outside the realms of dance and pop. This track, by nature of being a prerelease, isn’t about radio play or appealing to the public. It’s far too unapologetic for that. Rather, this is the track where LOONA shows who they are—where they announce as one group, “We’re here, and we’re here to stay.”
“favOriTe” is the kind of song where there’s so much going that it shouldn’t work at all, and yet by some magic trick or sleight of hand, it does. The jarringly brassy synths that dominate the instrumental are just this close to being too abrasive; the extensively diverse structure of beats and drops just barely holds together. But ultimately, the song isn’t abrasive but declarative. It’s not disjointed, but comprehensive. LOONA’s excellent vocals have plenty of space to stretch out, and the brief rap parts are some of the song’s best moments (youngest member Yeojin owned the whole song with her two-second line).
Perhaps most importantly for LOONA’s first full-group showing is that the members’ presence is deeply felt. While no one’s claiming that the line distribution is perfect, LOONA as a combination of talents and personalities leaves such an impression that they almost don’t feel like rookies. The song’s a hit, but my biggest takeaway from this release was a sense of LOONA’s identity. That’s rare for me—the music is often the first and last thing I notice about K-pop releases—but LOONA has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re a force to be reckoned with. I won’t be surprised if these girls are the ones at the top of the industry within just a few years.
FAVORITE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? *whispers through tears* It’s such a bop…
Take a look at LOONA’s “favOriTe” MV below: