[Review] Fromis 9’s “Fun” is a bit of false advertising

Up to this point, Fromis 9 have established an upbeat sound for themselves, pin-balling between hyper-cute quirkiness and more refined dance pop. Last year’s “Love Bomb” melded these two styles to great success, but new single “Fun” squanders much of that potential. While I can appreciate its bonkers approach to pop music, it’s the rare K-pop song that actively repelled me on first listen.

As a dedicated K-pop reviewer, I did my duty and gave “Fun” repeated attention. Familiarity brought an added appreciation for the song’s unapologetic brashness, but I don’t think I’ll be returning to this regularly. Maybe I’m a grump, but I don’t find anything fun about being shouted at incessantly — no matter how enthusiastic those exclamations may be. The chorus is a jackhammer to the skull, at once cacophonous and melodically repetitive. To the song’s credit, it gives me a visceral reaction. I just wish it was a good one!

Within the mile-a-minute madness of “Fun”, there are a few highlights. The melodic pre-chorus emerges as a needed oasis before we swerve into the song’s assaultive hook. The second-verse rap (positioned right before an unnecessary trap breakdown) rides the perky beat with addictive relish. Attached to a different song, the bouncy instrumental could have been a lot of fun. Its relentless tempo is not unfamiliar to K-pop, but feels like a good match for an energetic group like Fromis 9. It’s like an electronic polka on crack, and should have been twisted in even more interesting directions. Unfortunately, too much of “Fun” revolves around that polarizing chorus. I’m sure some will love it. For me, it’s one of the most jarring and unpleasant moments that K-pop has given us all year.

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