COOING is an indie singer-songwriter that debuted back in 2020 and is under Star It Entertainment. I’d be lying if I said I ever heard of her before stumbling across “ONE LAST TIME” in one indie playlist or another, but while going through those can be a chore at times the reward is finding gems like this out of seemingly nowhere.
The thing that stands out the most about “ONE LAST TIME” is that it never settles. At multiple turns it has a chance to just play things by the book a bit and still be a groovy, easy listen that I’d still feature on the site. After all, the engaging bassline, disco stylings, and funky touches combined with COOING’s breathy vocal are more than enough. However, it chooses to surprise with an almost anti-drop chorus before launching into the expected upbeat hook and never really repeats the same delivery or instrumental touchstones like I expected. Instead, each verse feels unique with synths and guitar strums becoming more prominent later, and by the time it goes into the bridge and the hook repetition with ad-libs closes it out, you realize at no point did it just go through the motions.
It’s a pop song where the replayable, earworm of a chorus is just what brings everything together and makes it exceptional instead of being the whole reason to listen. It’s also nice that it was a complete chorus instead of just a hook, as it makes the closing repetition that much better and gives the listener something to look forward to when it comes on again.
All the aforementioned tinkering with the instrumental makes sense with “ONE LAST TIME” being a nostalgic look back at a relationship on the rocks, with COOING basically mourning a dying relationship by asking for a final moment of the old magic. The upbeat and whimsical nature of the song fits into this desire, while her vocal stylings convey the emotions at play here nicely, and it helps put the listeners in that headspace to enhance immersion.
All in all, it’s hard not to be impressed with the talent of both COOING and the producer, and I can only hope they team up again going forward because “ONE LAST TIME” is surprisingly up there as one of the better Korean pop songs I’ve heard this year.