[Review] Somi’s “Dumb Dumb” has some highlights, though the search for an identity continues

Somi’s solo career has existed in drips and drabs, with no more than a single comeback each year since debut. All three songs have been co-produced by Teddy, whose familiar touch has crafted most of BLACKPINK’s discography (along with so many other YG artists). As the years have gone on, his ‘beat drop chorus + chanted climax’ schtick has become predictable and tired, and Dumb Dumb conforms to this template. But, it flips expectations by transforming its hindrances into strengths.

With a title like “Dumb Dumb,” I was prepared to hate this. It conjures a sense of bratty obnoxiousness that’s long overstayed its welcome in K-pop. But, the performance isn’t nearly as affected as I would’ve thought. More surprisingly, its most dreaded segments turn out to be highlights. When it comes to modern Teddy productions, the good stuff tends to be found in the verses and pre-chorus. Dumb Dumb’s plonky verses do nothing for me, and there’s hardly a pre-chorus to be found.

Instead, the track thrives when it hits its catchphrasey beat drop. The instrumental streamlines, pulsing with a rumbling electro groove that gives the track a sleek and powerful makeover. The vocal becomes monotone — spoken rather than sung. But, this hook slithers forward with ease, hitting all the right beats. Had the entire song sounded like this, I’d probably be raving about Somi’s transformation. Unfortunately, this brief highlight is surrounded by verses that feel extraneous. But when the climactic outro arrives (right on schedule!), it hits its mark and ends Dumb Dumb on a high. All of this is stuffed in less than two and a half minutes, making it hard for the track to fully explore any of its ideas.

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