Thursday, August 1st, 2019

(G)I-DLE – Uh-Oh

“Uh-Oh,” said Soyeon when she tried to structure her song…


Jessica Doyle: Soyeon does not write songs the way I would write songs. (In this case, as much as it would mess with the line distribution, I would have cut Yuqi’s and Miyeon’s second pre-chorus and have them split the second chorus instead.) At first listen there’s a lot going on, but subsequent listens reveal that a lot of the space is taken up by wa-oh’s and uh-oh’s and foo-foo-foo’s and no-no-no’s, and the lyrics circle around the central theme without really having a lot to say. I keep ending up a little frustrated, feeling as if there ought to be just a little… more… something. “Uh-Oh” flickers intermittently until truly finding and keeping an infectious energy in the last forty seconds. We’re getting somewhere, I think. Soyeon does not need my blessing to keep going, clearly, but my blessing she has.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: In the moment I’m impressed by a lot of its ideas–the austere boom bap beat being enhanced by severe string arrangements, Soyeon’s rap break buoyed by a prominent funk bassline, Soojin’s short but dramatic bridge–but the final chorus doesn’t really tie it all together. The main issue is that “Uh-Oh” tries to get by on exuding an understated cool, but it’s structured in a way that makes it lose steam quickly. Really, we should be getting to the second and third choruses much faster than we are, especially given that the hook isn’t particularly strong. It’s pretty rare that I say this, but for being one of the most novel K-pop singles this year, “Uh-Oh” is such a slog to sit through.

Josh Buck: This might be the first time I’ve rolled my eyes at the beginning of a (G)-IDLE single. That record scratch/boom-bap opening just felt like too simple of a nostalgia play. I should have known better than to doubt the girls. “Uh-Oh” ends up being less of an easy nostalgia trip than a bombastic three minute 90’s roller coaster. The song flows from a tight, punchy opening verse into a smooth as silk bridge, explodes into a very En Vogue-esque chorus and then flips that order on the way back down. It’s a thrilling ride that’s far less jarring than it has any right to be. The centerpiece, as it’s been on the past few (G) I-DLE singles, is a cobra strike of a rap verse from Soyeon. A venomous 10 seconds, where she cuts like a razor against a beat she produced herself. As one of the only K-Pop girl groups that does get to handle their own production, (G)I-DLE’s relative autonomy alone would make them noteworthy. But it’s their fearlessness and consistent quality that has turned them into the must-watch girl group of 2019.

Michael Hong: (G)I-DLE’s infatuation with nineties’ hip-hop on “Uh-Oh” may be more interesting than the “Uh-Oh” itself, with the record scratch sample being a nice touch. While the nineties aesthetic would have been wasted on other K-pop girl groups, (G)I-DLE give a strong enough performance that only occasionally manages to be overshadowed by the track’s production. But their individual charisma can only go so far, and “Uh-Oh” should have been cut thirty seconds shorter, saving us from the bland group outro that manages to lean too far into that nineties’ aesthetic.

Joshua Lu: I hear traces of EXID and Mamamoo in “Uh-Oh,” especially the former’s “Lady,” but the cocky vibe is pushed much further in (G)I-DLE’s spin on throwback jams. The song’s ’90s hip-hop beat might seem superficial, but (G)I-DLE makes sure to back it up with a swagger that ensures the instrumental just invokes nostalgia instead of relying on it. 

Alfred Soto: If you wanna be my lover, gotta hang with shufflebeat ‘n’ strings. (G)I-DLE riff ebulliently over them. 

Reader average: [7] (1 vote)

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