[Review] (G)I-DLE take a step back with “Senorita”

It’s been over six months since we’ve heard from (G)I-DLE as a group, but leader Soyeon has been a constant presence in K-pop since then. She featured in a special SM Entertainment project group last September and co-composed last month’s memorable “No for fellow Cube Entertainment act CLC. I expect her star power to grow even larger in 2019, and that will undoubtedly keep (G)I-DLE in the news. I only hope that the quality of their music keeps up the pace.

New single “Senorita” is solid, but feels like the least exciting title track the group has released. If we were talking only about the song’s first thirty seconds, I’d likely be more enthused. It’s rare to hear a K-pop track tackle tango, but the opening verse of “Senorita” bounds along this uncommon time signature. As other musical elements join the fray, the song moves closer to current trends and begins to lose some of its unique spark. The DNA is here. It’s just not built upon in the way I would have wished.

I’m less enthused about the song’s chorus, which is too throwaway for its own good. The melody never really goes anywhere, and the post-chorus male vocal sounds more like a catcall than the self-empowered refrain it could have been. The second verse of “Senorita” collapses into a forgettable (and all-too garbled) rap break that does little to keep the song’s momentum.

Things don’t catch fire again until the extended, wordless hook that takes us to the finish line. But even here, it feels like the track is building to one last chorus. Instead, “Senorita” ends abruptly, leaving a jumble of contrasting impressions in its wake. I appreciate that the girls are trying something different here, but they’ve delivered stronger work in the past.

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