Seemingly without a ton of fanfare, Woollim Entertainment boy group Golden Child have been quietly* building a quality discography. That said, their 2022 has got off to a bit of an uneven start with the music for their Japanese debut leaving them unrecognizable at times. But with their return to Korea with “Replay“, so too has their sound returned.
*Or loudly if you read The Bias List.
For everybody huffing nostalgia like I am but still wants it to be like … uh, a good product, here’s Golden Child doing what sounds like a peak INFINITE track. With lyrics (and a title, I guess) about wanting to turn back time, it appropriately goes a bit retro at least within the context of K-pop in terms of the sound.
“Replay” commands your attention from the very start, greeting you with velvety vocals over beat hits and a distorted synth that eventually transitions to basically a chorus preview, and it’s hard not to feel it’s a prelude for something great. Instrumentally it’s a somewhat busy song, so the verses paring things back a bit by honing in on restrained vocals over just a beat and softer synths was a smart choice. It also helps the song create a sense of momentum as it’s able to build through the pre-chorus before launching into foot-tapping, dance-pop chorus that’s punctuated by the “baby we can replay” refrain, though really the whole expertly-sung chorus is memorable.
The future house foundation with the bass slaps that add a touch of funky twang to the mix was an inspired choice, and the dance break adding a crunchy guitar riff to go with the vocal belts works extremely well for me, though I could see how it might not be the best for those allergic to anything but synths. The most important constant here is their great vocal performance, which helps anchor everything to melody no matter which direction the song is going.
Basically, I just found “Replay” almost impossible to not at least bounce along to, if not full on do a little awkward dance in the kitchen. It delivers the kind of relentless energy and melodic notes that make one want to get out bed and walk around a bit, which is what I did, cause sleepily listening to this doesn’t quite do it justice. Just a lot of fun and their 2022 in Korea at least is off to an amazing start.