Last week, I focused on some male group debuts from this year that I had yet to review. This week, I turn my attention to some female group debuts from this year. While the female group rookie scene has been super intense in particular, there is still a lot of ground to cover. I begin it all off with CSR, a seven member group under POPMUSIC. They debuted back in July of this year with the mini-album Sequence: 7272 and title track Pop? Pop!. Fun fact, the seven members of the group (i.e. Sua, Sihyeon, Yuna, Seoyeon, Duna, Geumhee and Yeham) are all born the year 2005. Before we let that actually sink in, let’s get stuck right in with this review.
Out of all the songs that I will be covering in the next few days for this female group rookie intensive period, Pop? Pop! is probably my favourite release. While I do find some cutesy song releases to be cringy and rely on a lot of the same motifs over time, there have been a few that have really stood out for me. And Pop? Pop! is joining that list. Put simply, Pop? Pop! brings nostalgia upfront because it sounds very similar to some of LOVELYZ’s earlier releases, a group previously active between 2014 to 2021. The synth-pop style of instrumentation and vocals work just brings me back to LOVELYZ’s releases. In addition to the nostalgia, there is a vibrant and refreshing feel to Pop? Pop! that feels very original in 2022. I particularly love the way the title of the song is repeated throughout the song. But instead of being repetitive, it is cleverly weaved into the instrumentation and used as detailing throughout the song. The exclamations of “Pop” during the verses were so addictive and acted like mini explosions of energy that kept even the verses dynamic. Even the refrain following the choruses was quite appealing, probably due to what felt like a faster tempo and the liveliness it gave. As for the actual choruses, they were very nicely done and the melody here was pleasantly inviting. The bridge is where the song changes up a tad bit, with a vibrating synth that we have not really heard in the song yet. It also incorporated a bit of a rap, which isn’t really a LOVELYZ thing. Essentially, the bridge of Pop? Pop! maintained that good energy that comes from the verses and choruses, but in a way that the song doesn’t feel like it is stuck in a loop. Finally, I really enjoyed the way the song ended with the extra “Pop Pop” that also feels more hefty, strongly signaling the end of Pop? Pop!. Overall, I think it is safe to say that Pop? Pop! is a great release. It has been on repeat for me, and I am not even tired of it.
The concept of the group, from KProfiles, is a class of young girls who were born in 2005. Their ages already tick off the latter part, whilst the group goes for the school concept for the first part of their concept. This time around, the visuals and music videos reminds me of GFriend, who is also another disbanded group who was notorious for their school girl concept in their very early days. But this music video features a bit more post-production that makes it feel more cutesy. Personally, since I like the song, I am not too troubled by the extra cuteness, simply because it matches up with the vibrant energy. And the acting isn’t as forced or hard to watch as other examples. I also enjoyed the vibrant colours in this video, with green in this video having a lasting impression on me.
When I watch their performance, I cannot help but smile. While some might argue that is this just down to just the song, I feel the bright energy, their smiles and positive vibes you get from the members also plays a part in getting this reaction out of me.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10