Ever since Everglow’s incredible, genre defining La Di Da in late 2020, I’ve been hoping, dying, frothing at the mouth for a girl group (hell, any k-pop group) to tackle a more aggressive style of synth driven pop. It’s a personal favourite of mine and one that I believe would fit right in to this burgeoning synth trend. And while still held back by some of its more generic leanings, Rocket Punch finally fulfilled that wish with the flashy Chiquita.
Unlike their Woolim peers, Rocket Punch have been surprisingly hit or miss for me. I thought their debut effort, Bim Bam Bum was solid if unspectacular and their followup Bouncy was a pretty solid effort that grew on me quickly but wore off even faster. The less said about Juicy the better and Ring Ring I found pretty generic. So when the group previewed Chiquita‘s immense chorus 2 weeks before the release, I was taken aback. This sounded absolutely huge, punctuated by a triumphant synth riff and dramatic melody that instantly grabbed by the collar and refused to let go. It felt like a real statement and one that actually fit the groups rather high, sometimes potentially grating vocal tones. And thankfully, it is just as strong in the context of the actual song as it was in the preview.
But as great as Chiquita‘s hook is, there are still some moments that hold it back from reaching the sheer greatness that it could have reached (~ala La Di Da). The opening verse is incredibly disorienting, throwing the listener into a topsy turvy soundscape that I don’t think quite works. Tracks like this need to start STRONG and maintain that energy all the way through and Chiquita doesn’t quite land the opening. On top of this, Rocket Punch aren’t the strongest vocalists, resulting in these moments feeling exciting than they could have potentially been. Thankfully, the track picks itself up from this point, giving us a relentlessly addictive collection of hooks between its subsequent choruses before reaching its excellent climax. I adore how Chiquita climax’s in an extended synth solo, It’s one of my all time favourite production quirks and I really wish more groups would jump on this particular trend. And when taken all together with all of Chiquita‘s other elements, I can confidently say that it results in what might just be my one of my favourite K-pop tracks of the year.
*I know I’ve given 3 9’s in the past like week but the other two is are soft 9’s (more 8.75 leaning) and this is a flatter, solid 9 rating. Nothing has really WOW’d me so far this year unfortunately.
Final Rating: 9/ 10
7 thoughts on “SONG REVIEW: Rocket Punch – Chiquita”
So far, Chiquita is my top Kpop song this year. I love that synthesizer!
I love the gliding, synth-heavy central refrain. Probably the second/third-best K-Pop single this year so far (Apink’s Dilemma and Lee Jin Ah’s Rum Pum Pum)
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Coming from a guy who lived through the 80’s this is one of the more legit ones out there (The stabs alone are pretty epic and never bore throughout the entire song). Brave bro does pretty well and of course, JYP all have similar ages to know what 80’s actually is also.
The break wasn’t even mentioned here (which is brilliant), rarely does kpop do instrumental outro’s, BUT I mean this is BEP so what else did we expect but better than the average. The way it is arranged also is a good thing, too many follow the same old boring arrangement to stay safe…
This should have won but we all know this is big4 popularity train kpop 😀