[Review] Somi’s anthemic “XOXO” is simple but effective

For a moment in time, it looked like Somi was gonna be stuck with the typically sparse YG Entertainment/The Black Label release schedule, but she has been churning out music this year like never before and it culminates in the release of her first album.

More worrying than the amount of music she’s been releasing, however, has been the quality of it. For the most part it’s been a bunch of nondescript releases that seemed more focused on trying to go viral on TikTok than anything else. “XOXO” doesn’t exactly change the latter part of the previous sentence, but it does add music quality to the mix.

“XOXO” is an extremely simple song and whether it works for you or not is also fittingly quite simple. It essentially comes down to whether the anthemic, chanted chorus works for you or not. For me, it hits the spot, relying less on theatrics and more on groove and rhythm, which makes it sneakily addictive and earworm-y. Now, what it says that this chorus was by far the best moment on any Somi release and it involves her being largely drowned out in a crowd is another issue entirely. But the verses also manage to be not distracting, which hasn’t always been the case, and she does a solid job of making “XOXO” believable thematically.

While one could nitpick and dream of something like this going more ambitious given its anthemic nature, I think a rather minimalist version works great and it benefits from the trap beat not trying to do too much just for the sake of being original or edgy, temptation that we’ve seen can be hard for producers to resist.

While “XOXO” is likely to age gracefully as it relies on the kind of hook that’s timelessly appealing, Somi’s biggest issue as a solo artist so far has been her inability to really carve out any kind of consistent identity as an artist. “XOXO” does nothing to solve this, but if she’s just going to go for pop hits (which is fine) then she actually needs to have some, and “XOXO” is a solid start.


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