[Review] MOMOLAND deliver solid bubblegum pop (with an odd instrumental touch) on “Ready Or Not”

Though Momoland treated us to Starry Night back in June, it’s been almost a year since their last full-fledged comeback. The group has struggled to rekindle the magic of their Bboom Bboom/BAAM era, stuck between recreated that sense of novelty or moving onto new sounds. But, they’ve scored a real coup with new single Ready Or Not. The song is produced by PSY, a man who is pretty familiar with massive novelty hits himself. But beyond Gangnam Style, PSY has composed a lot of great music in various genres. On the surface, he seems like the perfect collaborator to bring Momoland to the next stage of their career.

In reality, I’m not sure that Ready Or Not feels distinctly PSY, but it does bring a welcome injection of pop melody to counter Momoland’s sillier instincts. Right from the start, the track bounds forward with great verve and a bright hookiness. The first verse opens with a simple sing-talk rap before moving into more melodic territory. This segues into a full-throated chorus that sees the girls singing in unison. The vocal arrangement is tight and satisfying, giving the refrain a fullness that feels very classic in its delivery. The hook itself is catchy and light, though I’m unsure how well it will age.

This being post-2018 Momoland, we can’t get through a song without some kind of manic instrumental touch, and Ready Or Not’s sample lands predictably after each chorus. The track delivers a sped up, brassy synth loop that brings a jolt of frantic, free-for-all energy before things settle down again. Thankfully, this production flourish isn’t overused. At its core, Ready Or Not is just a good old fashioned bubblegum pop song. There’s nothing wrong with that!

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IATFB: As a big fan of brass rifts … what in the everliving fuck was that?

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