The sudden maturation of A Pink‘s sound has been as startling as it has been successful. It’s like they re-signed in 2017, decided to shoot for the moon, and they actually hit it, and as a result “Dumhdurum” has huge shoes to fill. It follows one of my Top 30 songs from 2018 in “I’m So Sick” and what may be one of my favorite K-pop songs period in “Eung Eung” from 2019.
Black Eyed Pilseung are the duo behind A Pink’s new reality and they find the sweet spot here yet again. They’ve maintained the touchstone of the synthpop approach from previous efforts, adding a bit of funky influence to it and smartly composing it so everything meshes perfectly but it also never feels all too predictable or bland.
Of course, most importantly, it’s effortlessly catchy, doing what most elite-tier K-pop songs do in providing an addictive hook within a fleshed-out chorus to go along with an instrumental features littered throughout that are impactful and recognizable on their own. They did it brilliantly with “Eung Eung” and managed to repeat the feat here with both the intro and the post-chorus. Not only does this not wear on me, but I’m having trouble stopping myself from listening so I can review it, which is a decent problem to have.
A Pink themselves continue to acquit themselves well within this concept. Nobody needs to tell Eunji that her vocals are a standout, but I thought it was clever to use her for the setup instead of being the primary for the chorus, providing a refreshing change which is appropriate for something that’s meant to be a bit playful and dismissive (not giving a fuck about an ex).
For a while on this site A Pink was synonymous with bland and safe, an understandable career choice but certainly not an interesting one. Now they’ve effectively given the middle finger to the seven-year curse and have decided to peak hard almost a decade in, and “Dumhdurum” only contributes to that as it’ll almost assuredly ending up as one of 2020’s best.
TheBiasList didn’t quite like it as much, believing it to need a better hook, but also generally had praise for it.