[Review] Bolbbalgan4’s “Bom” is pleasantly safe, which continues their brand

Last year, Bolbbalgan4 delivered their version of a summer song, and “Travel” went on to become a huge crossover hit. New single “Bom” takes its cues from spring — a season where K-pop goes crazy with drowsy mid-tempos and wistful ballads. As such, the song isn’t as much giddy fun as “Travel” was, but its quirky nature should still keep Bolbbalgan4 on top of the charts.

I am not Bolbbalgan4’s target audience. I’ve never been drawn to their kind of singer-songwriter style, but they’ve broken out on a level that transcends the kind of coffee-house material they debuted with. “Bom” continues that trajectory, bolstering their signature sound with pop-focused production to craft the kind of track that Akdong Musician used to deliver on the regular. Vocalist Jiyoung’s idiosyncratic tone will likely divide opinions as usual, but its character-rich approach fits well with a song like this.

As far as springtime tracks go, “Bom” is pretty standard. I feel like I’ve heard this exact template before. It’s bright but not uptempo, with a hazy, dreamlike atmosphere that never pushes far from its modest boundaries. I’m sure there are highlights when it comes to the lyrics, but for a non-Korean speaker there isn’t a whole lot to grab onto. Acoustic guitar melds with gentle strings and a laid-back groove to create an ephemeral kind of sound that doesn’t leave much impact. The entire track is pleasant in an undemanding way, and if that’s the vibe you’re looking for you’ll find plenty to love. I don’t see myself returning to it often, but Korea’s Bolbbalgan4 obsession will guarantee its ubiquity everywhere else.

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