Girl group BVNDIT spent their debut year releasing trendy music that didn’t reinvent the wheel. Though polished and well-performed, I felt like all of their singles suffered from the same generic template. They weren’t offering anything I couldn’t get elsewhere. Now, the girls are first up for their agency’s digital project New.wav, which aims to offer more frequent release opportunities for the artists on their roster.
If its English-language lyrics are any indication, Cool is a song aimed at an international audience. And though I’ll always prefer K-pop tracks delivered in their native language, the lyrics here aren’t too irritating. More importantly, the song gives BVNDIT an interesting sonic makeover. Taking heavy influence from the new wave genre, Cool forges a bratty, energetic instrumental that pulses with inventive synths and a heavy breakbeat. The vocal arrangement is a major strength, reminiscent of the ambient vocal styles of the late 90’s. It feels like a genuinely new sound for K-pop, and it’s tethered to a series of hooks that use their abrasiveness to their advantage.
Cool plays around with tempo as well, shifting between seemingly disparate segments but tying everything together nicely. This is most apparent during the bombastic bridge, which briefly turns up the guitars and percussion for a splash of punk-fueled energy. I would love to hear this influence in a promoted title track from BVNDIT. The industry could certainly do with a new-wave-meets-90’s-Riot-Grrrl girl group. Can you imagine how awesome that would be, complete with K-pop choreography and high-concept visuals?
IATFB says: Girl groups in K-pop now seem to have gone in the opposite direction where they’re all doing like girl crush type of concepts that struggle to stand apart from one another. Different cliches now, but cliches all the same.