[Review] MOMOLAND’s “I’m So Hot” plays it safe, misses usual standout chorus

MOMOLAND had a stellar 2018, propelled by the surprise smash of their hit “Bboom Bboom” and its copy-and-paste follow-up “BAAM“. Now, the real test begins. Having one breakout single is one thing, but forging a consistently successful career is quite another. Just ask Crayon Pop. Now that the girls have found a template that works for them, they could play it safe and hope that lightning strikes three times, or take a risk and venture into new territory. With “I’m So Hot“, MOMOLAND have largely opted for the former.

The song arrives just one day after DIA’s “WOOWA“, also produced by Shinsadong Tiger. The similarities in structure and energy are clear, but I’d give DIA the definitive edge when it comes to overall effect. “I’m So Hot” tries desperately for meme-worthy novelty, but forgets many of the most important hallmarks of a solid pop song. It relies on an inert hook – not so much a melody as it is a spunky catchphrase. Both “Bboom Bboom” and “BAAM” presented robust choruses, as silly and repetitive as they may have been. “I’m So Hot” can’t seem to conjure up more than a candy-coated chant.

Rather than relegate its hard-edged hip-hop breakdown solely to the second verse, “I’m So Hot” opens with a lurching tempo overlaid with pop melody. This quickly ramps up to the expected dance club thump, augmented by a heavy electro-swing influence. This is most obvious during the jazzy pre-chorus, where the production softens for a rare focus on the group’s vocals. Elsewhere, the instrumental is practically enslaved by the brassy loop at its core. This arrangement isn’t all that different than MOMOLAND’s previous singles, but the sample on “I’m So Hot” feels much more grating and ceaseless. It’s like all of the potentially irritating elements of its predecessors have been fused together into one momentum-killing comeback.

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