Making their comeback yesterday was LIGHTSUM, with their new single VIVACE. It leads their second single album, Light A Wish. This release follows their debut from earlier in the year, Vanilla. Vanilla was a decent debut, but let’s see if VIVACE is any better.

And indeed it does. I quite enjoyed VIVACE, even though it doesn’t strike me as a unique song. To me, VIVACE is quite familiar, as it sound overall felt quite similar IZ*ONE’s sound had created for themselves before their disbandment earlier this year. It seems like CUBE is once again taking the sound of one group and giving it another, like what we saw after the sudden disbandment of 4MINUTE and the change in CLC’s sound. I am not too troubled by this and also feel like it also a step in the right direction for LIGHTSUM, provided if this is just a once off and LIGHTSUM doesn’t continually release similar sounding tracks that all sound the same! VIVACE isn’t boring, thanks to the plentiful vibrant elements from the instrumentation. There is a lot of synths and percussion going on in this pop song. I particularly like the brassy synths that you hear after the first and final choruses, as that brings out a party tune that I quite liked. I think the weakest point of the song are the vocals. While they are as loud as the synths and they do stand out (which I appreciate), I do feel like they lack personality and individuality. I wished there was a bit more to the vocals, as this could have taken VIVACE to the next level. I did like the use of vocals to transition between the second chorus to the bridge of the song. That was rather cool and smooth. Overall, VIVACE a vibrant second step for LIGHTSUM that falls into familiar waters.

The music video could have been better. It is quite plain and wasn’t that memorable. It offered nothing more than choreography and closeups. Yesterday, I did make a comment about how this combination was warranted for yesterday’s video. But remember, this combination should be circumstantial and sparingly. In this video, we see the combination in action. And like many others, it just didn’t work as well. The music video sets felt like your typical box sets, though the colour added a bit of vividness to the video.

The choreography was quite nice and enjoyable. I liked how the routine capitalises on the explosive synths, which helps makes the choreography more vibrant.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] Vanilla – LIGHTSUM

As previously mentioned, I will be focusing on newly debuted groups this weekend. I tend to pass over these groups for more well-known and established groups who I am personally more familair with. But I do still keep my ear open for new groups And I have selected 4 new female groups to focus on today (ambitious much, we will see). First up is LIGHTSUM, which is a newly formed group under Cube Entertainment, the home of BTOB, CLC, Pentagon and (G)I-DLE. LIGHTSUM is an eight member female group consisting of Sangah, Chowon, Nayoung, Hina, Juhyeon, Yujeong, Huiyeon and Jian. They made their debut exactly a month ago with the single Vanilla.

When I think of Vanilla (not the song, but rather the flavour), you think of something rather plain but flavourful when it is done right. When I listen to Vanilla (not the flavour, the song), you feel that there is an explosion of colourful sprinkles. But not a pretty or happy explosion. Think rough and unsettling. And while that does sound like a criticism, I actually mean it in a positive manner. It has taken me a few listens over the month to really form an opinion on the song. Initially, my first few impressions of the song is that it is one of those messy songs that combines styles together that don’t really go hand-in-hand. But through casual listens here and there, I have developed a liking towards Vanilla. Certain parts of the song are subtly sweet, such as the chorus and the verses. It is bouncy and energetic. All great selling points of Vanilla, but the sweet appeal comes from the members’ vocals. The chorus features a marching band instrumentation. I personally enjoyed this aspect of the instrumentation, given that it added more energy and flair to this certain part of the song. And the song’s main hook (i.e. the “Vanilla-illa-illa“) is pretty catchy. Certain parts are a lot smoother and showcase more of their vocals, such as the pre-chorus. While this is the case, I would say LIGHTSUM’s vocals, overall, were so-so. And finally, other parts are harsh, but interestingly, quite refreshing. This is obviously in reference to the post-chorus breakdown. It is what I thought didn’t fit at first. But it grows on you (well, for me at least), and now I find it to be Vanilla’s highlight sequence. It also gives off a unique flair. I also actually look forward to this breakdown every time I listen to the song now. I also enjoyed how they ‘transformed’ the final breakdown. It is exactly the same breakdown, just layered with vocals and ad-libs on top, which helped create a different feel to the previous breakdowns in the song. Overall, Vanilla catches your attention. Now, I would like to see LIGHTSUM show off more of their skills in subsequent releases.

The music video is neither cutesy or girl-crush, concept wise. Rather, the music video for Vanilla takes elements of both and combines them into a hybrid. Pretty much like the song. The really bright colours of the sets reminds me of some of CLC’s music videos, while the bright smiles we get throughout the video joins up to create the cutesy vibes. The parts that align with up the girl-crush concept are slightly more darker and evokes a party-like vibe. I likes what they did with the first breakdown. It was out-there and had unique transitions. The second and third breakdowns in the music video were relatively plain and lost the cool effect visually. If I would change the music video, it would be incorporating other cool effects in those other breakdowns.

The performance was fitting for the song and it was pleasant to watch. But there really isn’t much to really talk about. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. But for now, I would say it is.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10