Album Review: P.O.P- PUZZLE OF POP

Release Date: July 26th, 2017

Tracklist:

1. START 161516
2. 애타게 GET하게 (Catch You)
3. 비밀일기 (Secret Diary)
4. 한 걸음씩 걷기 (One step down)
5. YIP PEE
6. Memory
7. 애타게 GET하게 (Inst.)

Total Runtime: 00:21:44

Recommended for: Fans of upbeat and retro songs.

Not recommended for: Sole fans of the girl crush concept.

P.O.P gained attention from fans and the media due to being trained under RBW’s artist program, effectively making them Mamamoo’s cousins of sorts. After countless cover songs being released on YouTube, the group has made their long-awaited début with the mini album Puzzle of Pop.

Track review:

1. START 161516

This intro is perfect in setting the retro mood for the entire album. The use of synths makes it both hypnotic and memorable, even with its absence of vocals. It does its job perfectly, grabbing your attention on the first listen, making you anticipate the other tracks on the album.

2. 애타게 GET하게 (Catch You)

Bursting full of energy from the very first few seconds, this track is so fun to listen. The verses are cutely sung and contrast with the hard-hitting synths in the instrumental, that help to create the overall funky feel of the song. My favourite part of the verses are at 0:34 and 1:38, the way that they are sung make them stand out and help prevent the verses from slipping into generic territory.

The chorus itself is great, catchy without being overly repetitive but unique enough so that it stands out from the rest of the song. The beat during the chorus as well as throughout the song is also amazing in creating a unique retro tone, though it never overpowers any of P.O.P’s vocals.

That being said, the very short instrumental/dance break at 2:24 left me wanting for more. It worked during the bridge alongside the vocals but by itself, it sounded quite lackluster. Almost as if the song was afraid of really going there and using a high-energy instrumental break that would have fit with the rest of the song. This feeling is reflected in some of the ad libs which aren’t as in your face as they are stereotypically used which makes for an interesting listen. The instrumental ending from 3:12 does help to recover some of the lost energy from the bridge and dance break.

The MV is quite enjoyable and is filled with the stereotypical gestures and scenes often found in cute K-pop MV’s, which are offset by the use of bright dance scenes with metallic skirts alongside scenes in a neon club. The use of a plot in the music video was also useful in making it more fun.

Overall, this is a solid début. On first listen, it sounded like a cuter version of GFRIEND’s Fingertip, an apt comparison as they are both composed by the same person. It is a shame that despite releasing acapella covers showing of their beautiful harmonies and strong vocals, these components were missing in their début song. Nonetheless, this remains an incredibly catchy song and a promising start for P.O.P.

3. 비밀일기 (Secret Diary)

Again, with the funky instrumentals. I love it so much, three tracks into the album and I’m already getting a strong retro vibe. In comparison to the title track, the instrumental is doing the majority of the work here especially in keeping the whole song memorable. The verses fit the overall tone but lack something to help them become more distinct.  The instrumental breaks remain the highlight of the song but on second listen the chorus is really strong and adds some depth to the song.

The beat keeps the song feeling fun and exciting but less so than some of the other tracks. But I do appreciate how more of P.O.P’s vocals are shown here. The verses need a little something extra to help match the exciting factor of the instrumentals to help elevate the song.

4. 한 걸음씩 걷기 (One step down)

This is more relaxed in comparison to the previous track. Despite being more relaxed, the song remains exciting to listen to as it is still an uptempo track. The most interesting thing about this track is its chorus which inserts some much-needed energy into the song.  The bridge provides a nice gap between the last chorus, preventing the song from becoming too formulaic in its structure. Though the high note at the end of the bridge falls flat and is almost anticlimactic.

The chorus is the best part of the song and for that reason alone calls for some replayability. However, similar to the previous track, the verses lack an oomph factor that would help them stand out. I do appreciate the more relaxed tone found in the song, which gives a nice break from the other high energy tracks.

5. YIP PEE

Yip Pee has very strong summer vibes. The beat and melody sound fresh and perfect for a hot summer day. The repetition of Oh Baby boy along with Yip Pee make the song extremely catchy, but the song never tries to force its catchiness with over-repetitiveness. The track doesn’t play it safe either, the instrumental break at 2:14 was a welcome surprise and adds more diversity.

Yip Pee is a fun song that would look/sound great as a promoted b-side on music shows. It’s summer tones would make it a great track to listen to during the hot season. The verses, instrumental and the chorus all feed of one each other quite well to make for an enjoyable listen.

6. Memory

Lastly, Memory is the slowest track on the album and the one that showcases P.O.P’s vocals the most. The vocals sound more mature and emotional in this song, perfect for the album’s closer. The chorus is especially powerful, the rich instrumental alongside the heartfelt vocals sound great. The entire song just sounds rich and well produced, I love the use of the hook ”I know” and ”Hello” to keep the rhythm flowing. The ad libs towards the end of the song are absolute perfection. This is such a great track and really showcases P.O.P’s versatility as a group. The beat is slick and the vocals are jam packed with emotions. A great way to end the album.

 

Review overview
Summary A promising debut and mini album, the album has a distinct retro/funky sound throughout. However, it is not until the last track where their vocals (a heavily promoted feature pre-debut) really shine. That being said, all the songs have great production value and display P.O.P's potential quite well.
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  • djbenetti

    what a relentlessly churlish review written as if by rote: this is a fantastic new album by P.O.P. and the single 애타게 GET하게 is absolutely one of the catchiest records of the year – what is apparent, much more than the tenuous Mamamoo references, is how they’re positioning to be a new GFRIEND-like group, and how can that be a bad thing? 5/5

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