PRISTIN’s “We Like” does many things wrong but prevails due to its infectious qualities

Pristin’s debut track Wee Woo seemed to grow on many listeners, but my experience was a bit different. The song remains dangerously catchy, but its more grating elements haven’t aged well. In some ways, I’m actually surprised that the group’s music is performing as strongly as it is. The cutesy, childish influences that permeate their sound are sure to polarize, yet they’ve doubled down on the hyper affected sing-talk with new single “We Like“. Luckily, the song’s hard-hitting, retro instrumental helps offset its melodic missteps.

Similar to Weki Meki’s messy debut, “We Like” initially feels like a series of mismatched sounds thrown in a blender without any real ear for organization. The girls practically sing over each other during the busy verses, tossing out one overly high-pitched aside after another as if desperately fighting for the listener’s attention. It’s all too dizzying and phony. You just want to advise them to take it down a notch and sing in their actual voices.

And that’s before we get to the song’s main “du-du-du-du-du” hook. To be clear, the chorus is hardly a chorus at all. It’s more an unfinished catchphrase, and it’s relentlessly obnoxious the first time through. But after a few listens, something amazing happens. All these disparate, juvenile moments begin to come together, anchored by the instrumental’s pounding, guitar-infused beat. I’ve never believed in the term “guilty pleasure,” as no one should feel guilty for enjoying pop music, but the bombastic energy of “We Like” quickly becomes infectious. How can a song that does so many things wrong feel so vital? Maybe it’s because “We Like” just doesn’t care. It’s confident in its easy, obvious catchiness — and that confidence goes a long way.

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