[Review] Gugudan have hopefully found their sound going forward with “Not That Type”

Gugudan’s unique “acts” concept has allowed them to explore a variety of styles since their debut in 2016. While this diversity can be exciting and unpredictable, it makes it difficult for the group to forge an identity of their own. Are they girl crush? Are they quirky? Are they innocent? Jellyfish Entertainment doesn’t seem to know, but with “Not That Type” the girls may have just stumbled upon their signature style. It’s the most convincing they’ve sounded in ages, and the song’s aggressive dance beat is a welcome counter to many of the year’s more aegyo-infused girl group tracks.

While melody will always be my most important factor when it comes to pop music, I have a soft spot for big stomping dance tracks like this one. “Not That Type” could almost be a long-lost 2NE1 or 4minute track, but it’s performed with an entirely different edge. Thus far, Gugudan haven’t had much opportunity to show off their vocals on title tracks. “Not That Type” rides more on attitude and chants than power notes, but there are brief moments of belt-it-out bliss where we get to hear the group’s dynamic vocal blend.

More importantly, “Not That Type” resounds with killer energy. The girls are taking no prisoners here, unleashing a fierce performance they’d only hinted at before. The song’s verses are perhaps too hesitant, and don’t fully set up the exciting hook that’s to come. But once we hit the gargantuan chorus, the song catches fire. Brassy percussion is pushed to the forefront, supporting a rhythmical refrain that sparks excitement. It’s repetitive, for sure, but delivered with such verve that it’s impossible not to shout along. In some ways, it feels like a streamlined version of BTS’s “IDOL, anchored by a stronger hook and a sense of go-for-broke urgency. It’s a dynamite match for Gugudan, and bound to spawn some impressive live stages.

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