HyunA convinced us to give CLC their Jukebox debut…
Jessica Doyle: “No Oh Oh” was released in late May, and 4Minute officially disbanded in mid-June, so feel free to speculate on when Cube decided to make Hyuna creative director/lyricist/guiding force for CLC. “No Oh Oh” is also absolutely terrible, so maybe we should all just be glad CLC got something catchy for once. Problem is, “Hobgoblin” falls apart after a couple listens: the push-and-pull of the lyrics works better from HyunA alone than from a group, and the repetition of the nal jeom barabwara part of the chorus gets old. The song’s less memorable for itself than as a test case for how quickly a group can remake its own image, and whether the revamped CLC will get to expand on Hyuna’s style or be forced to keep offering a half-thought-through pastiche of it. (Also as proof that Sorn can dance in stilettos without collapsing in resentment. C’mon, Cube, give the woman some closeups; she’s more than earned it.)
Leonel Manzanares: I’m not on board with CUBE Entertainment trying to pull a Blackpink, using CLC as 4Minute 2.0, but there’s potential at work here; these girls can easily ride a trap beat, and their rhythmic variations in the verses work quite well with the punchy production. They just needed some more Red-era HyunA sass, and a good chorus.
Mo Kim: Given that CLC has been bouncing around the Island of Misfit Concepts for the last year, rebooting the late 4minute isn’t the worst direction the group could go in. This pilfers shamelessly from the smoldering ashes of “Crazy” and “Hate,” pairing a knocking beat with emotion plugins (sassy! sexy! sad and sexy!) that play to each member’s strengths (right down to Seunghee getting the forlorn eye-of-the-storm middle eight that would have once gone to Gayoon). But where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and the girls pull it off well; I just hope that hobgoblins know how to make demo tapes with those magic clubs of theirs.
Alfred Soto: With its ghoulish vocals and crunchy effects, “Hobgoblin” does mimic what I’d imagine four amiable creatures taking over a studio would sound like.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Its unusual to think that a jarring electro and rap tinged dance track from a K-Pop group would ever imply “washed,” but think about it: doesn’t this feel a little too 2011? Most groups nowadays play with modern R&B, pastoral pop, reggae, disco, whatever. In a way, “Hobgoblin” suits its name because its such an obnoxious and bratty record, but more like a regular goblin (see: post’s author), we coming up short here.
Jonathan Bradley: It’s called “Hobgoblin,” but there’s nothing furtive about this CLC single. The group blasts in with colossal, stabbing synths and vicious trap snares; even as they step down a gear for the comparative reserve of the sweeter pre-chorus, its only so they can push back into overdrive for the hook. A banger this aggressive would be a thrill anyway, but CLC approach the track with absolute poise; think of the way Destiny’s Child withstood the whirlwind that was “Lose My Breath” for an idea of how deftly they take hold of the energy unleashed here.
Katie Gill: There’s a fine line between “music” and “noise.” CLC spends way too much time trying to navigate that fine line, swapping from music to noise in the span of a few seconds. There’s potential in there, most notably in the bridge. But that chorus isn’t doing anybody any favors. They shot for endearingly obnoxious but missed endearingly entirely.
Anthony Easton: A killer chorus but the verses are kind of obnoxious.