KARD’s “Don’t Recall” is familiar but different and lives up to lofty expectations

Co-ed group KARD are back with “Don’t Recall,” and though they’re still technically pre-debut, the quality of their efforts so far have been anything but.

KARD go back to the well with the instrumental for “Don’t Recall,” at least in terms of genre, again using a sound derived from a combination of reggae and house. However, this time the tempo is a tad slower, yet it still manages to sustain a high level of involvement thanks to a thumping beat that’s arguably more engaging than its predecessor. The chorus on this is less obviously catchy as an earworm than “Oh NaNa” was, and that seems to be by design, as it essentially helps build up to the drop. That’s a perfectly fine way to structure a song, but if that’s the case then the instrumental payoff has to be worth it, and luckily the outro from the chorus was sonically amazing. If the repeating “oh na na” was the highlight of the previous effort, then the outro from the chorus here is certainly what’s going to be the most memorable on “Don’t Recall,” and rightfully so.

The processing on the vocals still seems unnecessary, especially after hearing them sound great performing “Oh NaNa” live. However, I understand the choice to do so, because it does help them fit into the genre better than they would otherwise. That said, too often that means the members tend to blend into one another, especially the vocals of Jiwoo and Somin in sections. Still, Somin continues to provide the backbone for most of what KARD does, while BM and Jiwoo are definitely the fluid and creative contributors to the sound. But out of everybody, it was J.Seph‘s rap in the second verse that surprised me, as it snapped you right back into things with a harsher, aggressive tone, and I would argue his verse was a standout on the track.

Most importantly (to me), they addressed one thing I was concerned about going forward, which was that it seemed like it was just going to be female vocals and male rapping. That would be fine in itself since it still makes the group more diverse than others, but it didn’t seem to exactly take advantage of the potential versatility at play. In “Don’t Recall” they solve that a bit with BM singing a few tunes and Jiwoo rapping a bit, which helps their future potential because it provides a deeper vocal and a lighter rap to help mix things up.

All in all, there’s not a lot to say. The instrumental was great, the foursome executed their roles well and showcased further versatility, and “Don’t Recall” has the same addictive replayability for me that “Oh NaNa” has (maybe even better, honestly). I’m all in on this.

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The music video for KARD remains a weak point, at least conceptually, as a lot of the time it kinda reminds you of something an art student might do on a minimal budget. It’s understandable since they haven’t even debuted yet, but generally speaking the music videos have been nothing particularily involved or developed, and once again I’m betting that KARD’s choreography versions and dance practices will prove superior for promoting the song.

That said, at least the members themselves kill it visually, and whoever styled them made them shine.

The visuals of the members is most important thing if you’re not gonna go for a story type of music video anyway, so it’s fine. Also, I knew Somin was hot before this, but this is by far the best I’ve seen her look. Holy shit.

The choreography was unique and interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing so I can get a whole look at it. I’m a fan as it is, but I swear the music video itself seems like a teaser for the dance/choreo versions.

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“Don’t Recall” sticks to a similar script as “Oh NaNa,” which definitely works for me since their debut was what made me so interested in to begin with. Yet rather than taking a completely safe route and doing little new, they switch it up quite a bit in the structure, and that helped create an entirely new quality track for the group that was just based on a familiar foundation.

As I said during the run up to this release, one of the problems I thought I would have is that the hype was getting out of control for me and I was basically setting myself up for disappointment in some way (especially since it’s DSP Media). Fortunately, KARD actually brought the goods again and DSPM are now two-for-two with a group they haven’t even allowed to go on shows yet.

I continue to be impressed by KARD, it’s as simple as that. And as long as they continue to entertain by bringing the quality music and extra antics, they’ll have an audience member in me.

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‘Don’t Recall’ Single Album

“Don’t Recall” Song

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