Okay, let’s talk about LOONA. Following almost two years of predebut promotions, the girl group has finally officially debuted with EP “[+ +],” which features prerelease single “favOriTe” as well as the debut title track, “Hi High.” But does it measure up to the hype? After the group’s dozens of predebut tracks set a standard of high quality and unpredictability for LOONA, the new songs on “[+ +]” feel somehow expected. The bottom line is, all of the group’s best songs are still predebut ones, “favOriTe” included. In comparison, little else on “[+ +]” stands out.
Does that mean the music’s bad? Of course not. The well-thought-out structure of “Hi High” makes some girl group songs look like split pea soup. But LOONA’s brand has never been just about structure or composition. LOONA’s greatest secret weapon is the element of surprise. Take the impossibly long “oooh”s of “Girl Front,” or the drop in “Love Cherry Motion.” Take the release of the first LOONA song to take a sensual rather than cute approach, “Eclipse,” or the jarringly brand-new sound of “favOriTe.” “Hi High,” in contrast, sounds like a cross between “love4eva” with “Love and Live,” whereas past LOONA songs have never sounded like a cross between anything. It was important for “Hi High” to make its own statement, much the same way “favOriTe” did before it, but instead it scrambled to fit the LOONA essence into a pop mold. Along the way, certain building blocks are lost—some needed bass, the unexpected melodies that LOONA so often delivers, a sense of uniqueness.
The case with the rest of the EP is similar. While past releases have made genre play a LOONA staple, these side tracks sit complacently within an electronic square. Are they good? Yeah, they’re good. “Fever” is really good. Still, they’re missing something. “favOriTe” is the only song on the EP that measures up to what we know LOONA’s capable of. Hopefully this debut was more about playing it safe than redirecting LOONA’s sound, and future comebacks will prove that BlockBerryCreative hasn’t forgotten how the risks they took predebut paid off.
HI HIGH: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Sigh. A bop.
Take a look at LOONA’s “Hi High” MV below: