It’s been a while since we last heard from Loona. Though one of Kpop’s most internationally popular groups, limited promotions and financial issues caused much of their 2019 to be devoid of musical output. Although I wasn’t initially impressed with the groups first two singles (Hi High and Butterfly), both improved greatly over time; especially Hi High. My favourite Loona related songs, Yves’s New and sub unit Odd Eye circle’s Sweet Crazy Love adhered strongly to a hypnotic new wave template, which none of the groups full group tracks have unfortunately stuck to. This trend continues with So What, which combines a hodgepodge of influences to create one the years most experimental and exhilarating tracks yet.
The first thing I noticed about So What was its similarity to ITZY’s two singles from last year. This in no way is a bad thing, as I absolutely adored both Dalla Dalla and ICY, and So What continues the trend of Frankenstein tracks in K-pop being great. Its verses are some of the years best, powering the track forward with backloads of personality. The opening few lines are the equivalent of being grabbed by the collar and aggressively pulled into the songs aggressive dance floor assault. The intoxicating baseline that remains ever-present throughout the track recalls ITZY’s Dalla Dalla in the best way possible, but ups the grit to provide an arrangement that’s purely Loona. The second verse is also equally exhilarating, upping the energy without collapsing into any ill-conceived momentum killing breakdowns. I love how each member is given the spotlight here, with members you wouldn’t expect (Chuu!!) each providing addictive rap verses.
The chorus on the other hand is something I can see being quite the let down for some listeners, but I absolutely adore it. Though I don’t usually gravitate towards the shouty realm of K-pop, the arrangement here is particularly invigorating. The SM influence is particularly potent, as the vocal layering provides the chorus with a larger than life drive. However, the post chorus hook is easily the songs most catchy segment, providing a call and response segment that simply exudes confidence and charisma. The excellent extended bridge injects an anthemic shot of melody, before that excellent bassline once again returns to segue the track into its climactic refrain.
Though none of the groups past material hit me hard on first listen, So What floored me and is easily LOONA’s best full group track yet.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10