Gugudan 5959’s out of the box irreverence on “Ice Chu” ends up rather charming

Sometimes the pure inanity of K-pop is a real sight to behold. I like to imagine a totally new reader stumbling upon The Bias List by accident and taking a look at this review’s title, because it must be utterly confusing. For those not deep within the K-pop landscape already, ‘oguogu’ (5959) + ‘gugudan’ + ‘ice chu’ = wtf. But at a time when the genre strives for even more international saturation, it’s charming to see (and hear) something so out of the box.

Gugudan 5959 is a Gugudan sub-unit comprised of members Mina and Hyeyeon. And as with any sub-unit worth its salt, “Ice Chu” gives the girls latitude to explore a genre different from their main group. Some have already compared the song to something Orange Caramel might have produced. “Ice Chu” isn’t quite as whip-smart or catchy, but its sense of anything-goes irreverence is certainly similar. The instrumental utilizes a bright injection of rhythm guitar as its through-line, complimented by a galloping beat and flourishes of brass. This combination is especially potent during the agile dance breakdown before the final chorus.

On the other hand, the song’s melody is a little all over the place, only really coming together for the jubilant, disco-influenced chorus. The second verse feels particularly messy, shifting gears so often that “Ice Chu” threatens to derail completely. But when it comes down to it, the song is unabashed in its sense of fun. This isn’t a release meant for heavy critical analysis — just a fun late-summer bop to reach for when you need a shot of gleeful, sugar rush energy.

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