With the burgeoning growth of K-pop in its current state, many newer fans are unaware of many of the genres past classics. That’s why every week I will be taking a look back at some of K-pop’s most exciting and iconic tracks that were released before the conception of this blog to shed some light on this now bygone time.
Year released: 2018
Ok, it’s officially missing fromis_9 hours here on Kbopped. It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since the groups last comeback, and while Fun was everything I didn’t want from a fromis_9 track, I would rather have another track than this endless hiatus that we have right now. And while I understand much of this is due to the ongoing produce scandal, it’s really hurt the momentum of a group that at one point seemed almost certain to burst into the A-list. This rapid growth was all due to 2018’s immense Love Bomb, which not only remains the groups strongest effort yet, but easily one of the best songs of its year.
Though I don’t really dabble in the hyper saccharine or bubblegum side of kpop all that much, there are some songs that just demand to be heard. Love Bomb is one of those tracks, hitting the listener almost immediately with its colourful and incredibly addictive stuttering beat. The skewed vocal riff that anchors this segment is a wonderful production choice, providing a boisterous introduction to a track that’s only going to get weirder from here. From here, the track delves into the standard bubblegum pop vocal delivery and phrasing that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from any number of girl groups. However, what keeps these segments incredibly engaging is the every changing instrumental bounce. This level of complexity is rarely seen within tracks of this nature, and it’s incredibly refreshing. The pre-chorus however, is when things really amp up, as a healthy dose of melody is introduced to provide an excellent build towards that show stopping hook. Most of the instrumentation filters out here, leaving only an ascending electro pulse to provide the tracks most streamlined moment.
Love Bomb‘s chorus is pure art, and one of the strongest centrepieces to any song released in 2018. It’s incredibly catchy from the first listen, and one of the most melodically satisfying refrains within the groups discography. The instrumentation that filtered out during the pre-chorus comes roaring back during the hook, transforming the chorus into a dynamic centrepiece. Not only does it shift the tracks direction towards something much more propulsive, but it also possesses an underlying sense of melancholy. This transition from the incredibly upbeat and peppy verses to the soaring melodic refrain is impeccably done and works both as a high octane banger and a nostalgic piece of pure pop. It’s actually really hard to pin down how it manages to convey such emotion through an otherwise saccharine hook.
But listening to an instrumental version of the track and reading the lyrics actually confirms this. Love Bomb isn’t meant to be a happy song, but rather one that conveys the feelings of melancholy and bittersweet remorse through an upbeat package. It’s all thrilling stuff, positioning the group in a much more sophisticated light. But amongst this array of fantastic elements, my favourite moment has got to be tracks bridge and build towards the climax. The breathless bridge leads is phenomenal, but rather than directly lead towards the tracks climactic hook, the tracks opening refrain takes its place. At first it seems out of place and disorientating, but once that gargantuan refrain slams in at full force, it all comes full circle. The synths are upped to 100 and the wonderful vocal layering creates an incredible choir like effect. It’s like an entire wall of vocals just crashing down on you, and I love every single second of it.
Love Bomb through and through is just an incredible pop song, and easily one of the best girl group singles of the past few years. It’s probably the track that’s fromis_9 the best and one of the songs that easily placed within my top 50 of the decade. Let’s just hope when fromis_9 do comeback, that it’s with material as consistently strong as this.
Final Rating: 10 / 10