[Review] PTT (Paint The Town) – LOONA

And I am back to finally review the rest of the week’s releases before I move onto focusing on album reviews this coming weekend. First up is LOONA’s latest comeback, PTT (Paint The Town), which officially dropped on Monday. This is the group’s first comeback since their quite addictive Why Not? comeback back in October 2020. PTT is featured on the group’s fourth mini-album [&] and also marks the return of Haseul, who has been absent from LOONA’s lineup since the release of So What due to mental health issues. Welcome back to Haseul and LOONA! In other related news, LOONA will be gearing up for their Japanese debut, with a Japanese version of PTT released alongside this comeback on Monday as well.

PTT is a bold release, incorporating Indian instrumentation with ‘aggressive dubstep and 808 bass sounds’. While we have heard of foreign influences in KPOP songs in the past, I don’t think any were really featured as prominently as PTT had. It definitely helped create a dynamic atmosphere that was quite alluring and catchy. The song opened with this (what I presume is an) Indian chant before we are introduced a full suite of traditional instrumentation. Some of this traditional instrumentation retained as we move along into the verse (i.e. the tabalas), which is also accented with pounding percussion that strengthened the energy and appeal of the song. As we move closer to the chorus, the hip-hop side profile of the song emerges through the melody, along with the electronic touches mentioned above and the occasional appearance of some traditional instrumentation detailing. This buildup to the chorus felt very clean and felt logical to bridge the verse and chorus. For the chorus, the aggressiveness of the dubstep dominates the first half of the chorus with the Indian touches taking more of a backseat allowing that aggressive nature to appear. It playing field switches in the second half of the chorus, with the Indian instrumental elements emerging from the darkness and the aggressive nature takes a more subtle approach. For the second verse, I liked the boldness of their rapping. The instrumental for this part works well with the rest of the song and doesn’t break the flow of the song, like in some other songs. For the bridge of the song, the slowdown was nice and allowed for Chuu’s high note to pull the song back up to the final chorus, which really hit the song home. Haseul’s vocals in the bridge was also a highlight. Elsewhere, the vocals in PTT were really good and continued to show that clear and crisp vocals that the group has been showing us in their releases. To me, the reason to why PTT is not a perfect song is the chorus. While I did like the instrumentation as I had mentioned above, I felt it was rather weak. The ‘Latatata‘ they went with was pretty dry, bland and didn’t add momentum to the song, as I would have expected a powerful chorus to. It did have some catchiness to it, but I don’t think it was nearly as much as it could have been. I also feel like it didn’t match the aggressive nature of the chorus, which resulted in the chorus feeling rather disappointing. Overall, I think PTT was a strong song from the group. But what should have been the song’s centrepiece was lacking.

While the aesthetic of the music video is reflective of what we have seen from LOONA since So What, it also brings visual elements of their predebut unit releases and their animal representations that formed part of their pre-debut package back into play. And this is all alongside what I am guessing is a new story. But while it is always great to get back in touch with your roots, the music video for PTT is quite overwhelming to watch. There was just so much going on. Maybe when I have some more time, I will try to figure out what this new story is and how it relates to their predebut works. Until then, I will only make comments on the visual display we saw. PTT has some really bold imagery and this imagery works extremely well with the music. The choreography shots, especially when it came to the more aggressive side of the choruses, really honed in that aggressive imagery with the dark and stormy atmosphere and angry colour choices. On the flipside, the verses feature more calming and innocent colours (i.e. white and yellow) to match with the song’s vibes during such parts. And the solo shots of each member we see shows off their beauty really well.

To reflect well with the music, the choreography is quite powerful and artistic at the same time. I don’t think this is their best work but it was still quite great to watch! I really liked the domino effect they had in the second half of the chorus (i.e. one line of members performed first, then the second performed the first set of moves when the first line of members were on their second move etc.), which made that section look really nice.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

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