LOONA‘s long pre-debut (technically) journey has finally come down to this. After lead single “FavOriTe” was dropped, which easily could’ve been their debut in my estimation, LOONA has made their debut with “Hi High“.
The thing that struck me was how detached “Hi High” was from a lot of what made me stand up and pay attention to their music to begin with. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but the effort reminded me a lot of LOONA 1/3 — my least favorite unit — though influences from the rest of the units emerge as well.
Regardless, the upbeat nature of “Hi High” ensures it never quite bogs down, and it has this dreamy vibe to the whole thing that’s executed well throughout. The pre-chorus is quite cutesy and light, which could be polarizing, but eventually it settles into a nice build. Still, it’s the verses that stood out as particularly appealing.
Where I seem to deviate from many is the chorus, as while it definitely keeps the energy level up, the “hi hi hi hi” refrain eventually becomes almost gratingly repetitive. Furthermore, the surrounding melody doesn’t really justify the simplicity of the structure. It’s not unlistenable, but it’s what took it down from something potentially great for the concept to a somewhat fungible girl group release.
But my opinion of “Hi High” doesn’t mean anything, and knowing the reality for girl groups in Korea, this musical choice was likely a business decision by their company. I definitely get it, but just because I understand doesn’t mean I have to love it. The reality is that LOONA leaning on tropes that the public expect from girl groups didn’t appeal to me as much as their other work has. Mainly though, the chorus just didn’t hook me like it was supposed to. It doesn’t blunt my enthusiasm for the group at all, it’s just likely that I’ll be listening to other efforts by them at the end of the year instead.