PURPLE KISS’s “Ponzona” debut was an enticing elevator pitch that introduced the world to the group, but usually what comes next is the hard part, as follow-ups frequently reveal the direction of the group’s sound or concept or ability.
And honestly, using “Zombie” as a song title immediately gave me pause, as it’s something that’s been done to death of late and it seemed to scream a generic girl crush path. Fortunately, they instead used it to show off their duality, mixing zombie apocalypse imagery with a song that was just a lot of fun.
“Zombie” is actually a bright/cool concept at its core, built on a hard-to-go-wrong formula of funky rhythm guitar strums and bass hits to create an uplifting affair. It’s really just infectious, hitting the listener with the central “zombie bie bie bie” hook early on that also serves to hook the listener into the song as well.
Still, because this funk foundation is done so frequently, it runs the risk of meshing into the background of K-pop musical releases. Thankfully it sets itself apart a bit by pausing the momentum in the pre-chorus, which is risky but pays off with the “ai kkamjjagiya!” exclamation that encapsulates the playful mood, then it hits you with solo guitar strums and launches into the fleshed-out chorus heavy on melodies and with heightened energy.
Additionally, the girls themselves also do well with their roles, as they are impactful but never take me out of the groove with their performances. The vocals are stable throughout and impressive when they need to be, while the rap verses in particular are noteworthy for being surprisingly proficient, at least in that there aren’t obvious moments that make me stop and wince like I usually experience with idol tracks. A large part of PURPLE KISS excelling seems to be that they’re rarely forced to sing in the gratingly-high register that many groups succumb to, and their music is better for it.
My main concern with “Zombie” is simply that time will see the central hook wear on me. For now though, it’s hard to complain about the addictive release, on which they do an excellent job showcasing themselves. The potential is all there, and that certainly makes PURPLE KISS a group to watch going forward.