[Review] Weeekly get me on board the hype train with complete, undeniable “After School”

Weeekly debuted in the middle of 2020 and appear to be doing moderately well as Play M‘s heir apparent to A Pink. Following their “Tag Me” and “Zig Zag” releases last year, they had already developed a loyal following among girl group aficionados internationally. While those two singles (especially “Tag Me”) had flourishes, they ultimately didn’t win me over in the end. New release “After School” rectifies that problem.

While I never got on board the hype train previously, Weeekly’s brand of peppy, charisma-infused bubblegum pop made it clear that all it would take is a slight adjustment to change my tune on that front. “After School” is a throwback to the playful and fun hits of the second generation, but modernized, using trendy elements like trap effectively, and sort of going down the reggae road as well. The foundation is laid so well that it’s just easier to enjoy what’s built on top.

The bouncy percussion underpinnings of the “After School” instrumental are difficult to not bop your head along to, while that beat then escalates into an addictive, rhythmic chorus that really hits its melodic stride with the “I’m so good with you” section that’s a second wind of sorts. The transition out of the chorus is also seamless, and while the rapping has some hiccups here and there, it thankfully avoids the asinine breakdown that dragged down “Tag Me”. The callbacks in the lyrics to their past two songs were also a nice touch.

While there’s an opportunity there for the song to coast and remain a very good but not great effort, it instead opts for an impressive vocal-heavy bridge that’s not just shoehorned in as a showcase but serves as a great escalator for a satisfying conclusion that switches up a lot of the elements from earlier in the song to keep the listener on their toes.

Conceptually, Weeekly have always seemed to know what needle they wanted to thread. Something young and peppy and fresh, but also something with a bit of an underlying attitude to it that emphasizes charisma and not just innocence. “After School” is the release that brings it all together, livening up the verses to make it a standout of its own, improving their already captivating choruses, and avoiding pitfalls to score with a truly complete effort.

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