The debut of Woollim Entertainment’s new boy group has been rumored for well over a year, increasing expectations for what Golden Child may sound like. And from a personal perspective, the guys are the successors to my ultimate bias, Infinite. This runs the risk of inviting a host of unwarranted comparisons, but “DamDaDi” sounds nothing like a song that Infinite would record. That’s probably a smart idea, as rookies need to establish a style all their own to stand out among the ever-increasing crowd of competitors. “DamDaDi” definitely stands out, though I’m not sure how durable its candy-coated hooks will be in the long run.
Golden Child boasts eleven members, positioning them closer to a male cheerleading squad than an actual band, and the unrelenting energy of “DamDaDi” plays to those strengths. Rather than latch on to the trends of the moment, the song pulls from a retro power pop base that gives the guys an oddly throwback appeal. There’s a strong 50s rock n’roll vibe running through the instrumental’s bouncy guitar, which is almost unheard of in modern K-pop. This is fused to an incessantly catchy repetition of the title, perched as a mix of Seventeen‘s bright funk and the cheesy sing-along of ‘High School Musical‘. At times, it feels a little too reliant on the easy hook at its core. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as being too catchy, but “DamDaDi” definitely flirts with that line.
The song is at its best, then, during its explosive pre-chorus and free-wheeling verses. Like many groups with a similarly large roster, Golden Child is capable of supplying a euphoric blast of layered vocals that make any song feel more immense than it is. None of the individual members are given much of a chance to stand out here, but together they display an infectious spirit that’s hard to resist.