Song Review: April – LALALILALA
2020’s girl group slate has given us Dun Duns and Nun Nu Nan Nas, ASSAs and Dumhdurums. So, it only makes sense that this onomatopoeia train would wind up at its logical destination: a big, honking LALALILALA. This is the all-caps exclamation with which April have finally put a cap on their seemingly endless hiatus. Last time we heard from them, groups like ATEEZ, TXT, ITZY, Everglow and AB6IX hadn’t even debuted. In the rapidly-moving K-pop industry, nineteen months is a generational shift, requiring a throw-down-the-gauntlet return for a group to regain their standing.
LALALILALA isn’t perfect, but it’s got a lot of life and urgency in it. I’ve heard some compare the track to the classic Kara sound of days past, and I’d agree that the mammoth chorus harnesses some of that same appeal. Though the song hinges on its titular refrain, the repetitiveness of the hook is fleshed out nicely by a surging, synth-fueled instrumental that heightens the drama. However, Kara (or more specifically, Sweetune) would have kept this energy going during the verses. I’ll never understand dance tracks that slow down in between choruses. Just from a practical standpoint, how exactly are you supposed to move your body when a song like this comes on? There’s a way to maintain a sense of dynamics while keeping the tempo high throughout an entire track.
This is a minor gripe, but prevents LALALILALA from true excellence – at least in my opinion. Still, there’s plenty to love here. I appreciate the straightforward vocal performance, which never resorts to the kind of cheap chirpiness that often plagues songs of this nature. In many ways, LALALILALA mirrors Apink’s Dumdhurum from last week, but this track has more punch to it. I like the use of twinkling, icy synths during the pre-chorus and chorus. It’s a nice respite from the moodier samples we often hear, and gives LALALILALA a nostalgic wistfulness that blends well with the girls’ bright vocals. And then, there’s that sledgehammer hook. K-pop can always do with more take-no-prisoners choruses, and I’d love for this to become a calling card for April as their music continues to grow.
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