[Review] DRIPPIN gets a great debut by going with “Nostalgia”

Over the years, Woollim Entertainment’s music has proven to consistently match my taste, so the thought of any new debut from the agency is exciting. But though Nostalgia may be their first official title track, DRIPPIN are not unknown to the public. Every member except one participated in last year’s Produce X 101 series, with Junho actually making the final group. This gives their debut a certain level of notoriety – a benefit not always afforded to Woollim artists. But true to form, the agency hasn’t rested solely on that existed popularity. They’ve given DRIPPIN a great debut track.

Composed by the Full8loom team, who are probably most well-known for their work with WJSN, Nostalgia conjures a bombastic second-gen sound without feeling like a total throwback. After a brief flurry of distorted electronics, the track bursts into a sprightly verse. This segment could use a little more melodic punch, as it feels rather generic. But, I appreciate the sense of constantly-building energy. Though much of the instrumental pulls back during the pre-chorus, this moment employs a dose of overlapped vocal layering to give the track some drive. I only wish Nostalgia’s second verse leaned into some of the same tricks. Yes, the song treats us to that dreaded second verse trap-rap breakdown, and it’s as ill-fitting as always. I think this is a first for a Woollim boy group title track, and I hate to see them succumb to such a cut-and-paste trend.

However, Nostalgia benefits from an incredible chorus. The refrain rushes in with great intensity as the guys sing in unison. It’s a two-pronged hook, each segment as catchy as the other. And though the track doesn’t highlight any Sungkyu/Woohyun or Joochan/Y power vocals, DRIPPIN sounds great when they all perform together. The chorus crackles with energy, at times recalling SHINee’s funk assault (or if we’re talking newer groups, The Boyz). Time will tell if DRIPPIN lives up to the promise of this chorus, but I’m very pleased with this first step into the K-pop industry.

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IATFB: A great debut, though it’s hard to figure why this doesn’t feel as great as it should to me. I think it’s cause everything sounds a bit washed out for some reason, which is an issue I had with “Lovesick Girls” as well.

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