The trend of producers creating idol groups continues with the debut of bugAboo, the second group under Ryan Jhun’s A Team label. As such, their music comes courtesy of Jhun himself, a proven hitmaker in the industry. Their cutesy group name (which just happens to be one of my childhood nicknames…) seems to promise an equally saccharine sound. But, self-titled debut track bugAboo is a pleasant surprise.

I’ve had a tenuous relationship with girl group songs this year. The industry’s overriding musical trends aren’t for me, and so many of the groups I tended to love have either disbanded (GFriend) or seem to be heading that way (Lovelyz). New faces and new ideas are very welcome, especially when bolstered by a great producer. BugAboo doesn’t quite get there, but it’s a promising first step for the group.

I can almost feel the tension within the song. So many of its segments want to swerve into that chanty, Bratz Doll-esque sound that drives me crazy, but the tautness of the track never lets that happen. Verse one is hit or miss, with some cringey sing-talk marring what could have been a sleek, dynamic melody. But, the pre-chorus soon sweeps in to pull us back on track. Then, bugAboo unleashes a great series of brassy loops as we launch into the chorus. The melody here is catchy and the performance is restrained, opting for a concentrated burst of dance pop rather than a series of disconnected refrains. This sense of focus is greatly appreciated, and makes the track hit harder than expected. I also like the cool transition into the bridge. It’s rare that a K-pop instrumental genuinely surprises me anymore, but the production here is pretty slick. If this is any indication, bugAboo seem to be a rookie to keep our eyes on.

Hooks 9
Production 9
Longevity 8
Bias 8
RATING 8.5

Beatsway

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Publisher: Nick