When I watched K-POP STAR 6 last year, I was a big fan of one of the most popular contestants that season, Kim Sohee, a trainee from Hunus Entertainment. All season long, she proved that she wasn't just a beautiful girl, but also a talented performer. After her team, KWINs, placed second during the finale, she was served a pretty quick debut by her agency. She was announced to debut as a solo artist first with the very catchy and visually-appealing "Spotlight" before re-debuting in girl group ELRIS, a five-membered girl group.
The Second Try
Blown away by “Spotlight,” I was expecting ELRIS to go a similar route as Sohee's debut, but I was utterly disappointed when "We, first" turned out to be a sugary pop track that, in my opinion, could have been better. By this time, I admittedly gave up on following ELRIS because I wasn't too much of a fan of their debut single or even their mini-album, so I wasn't aware of any news regarding the group.
However, when they returned with "Pow Pow" just the other day, which I had no idea was going to come out, I started watching the music video without any expectations. I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was.
The first 15 seconds of "Pow Pow" can be quite misleading. Opening with aggressive guitars, the song doesn't introduce its real style until the first verse comes in, which comes off a lot softer than what you'd expect it to be. The track uses a lot of brass, which makes the track feel like it's ska-influenced, a feat quite rare for a K-Pop track. The chords built in the track don't go the way you'd expect them to, especially during the latter half of the chorus. The use of 808s (deep bass synths) at some parts of the track were a nice touch as well since they make the song sound very hip and prevent the track from sounding too outdated.
The music video of the track stays true to the mini-album's colorful theme as it utilizes a lot of pink and yellow, taking you on a three-minute ride of color swatches and bright, uptempo music.
Besides “Pow Pow,” Color Crush houses another great track titled "Midnight, moonlight" which was produced by Glory Face, who has done a lot of tracks for WJSN, TWICE, and Apink. The track is an R&B-fused midtempo track that contains a breathtaking chorus. The song builds up like a usual midtempo B-side from a girl group act, but leads you to a twist when the chorus shifts to a different key. The melody during this part stays quite linear without all the vocal runs, which is complemented by breathy vocals of the girls.
Off the six tracks from the Color Crush mini-album, the majority are great pop cuts like the hyped-up opening track "Heart Bank," and B-sides "Wonderful Girl" and "Roopretelcham." The album's obligatory ballad, "Star," is another great cut from the album. It features JBJ's Kim Sangyun, a.k.a. ToppDogg's A-Tom, for a rap break in the middle of the track. The track is entirely pop-piano driven and may be the best track on the album in terms of vocal performance. You can clearly hear the vocal qualities and abilities of each member, and Sohee's vocal chops, in particular, stand out in this track.
Overall, the Color Crush mini-album was a great surprise. While I still have the same opinion regarding their debut release after giving it another listen, the group proved that they can stick to having a bright and colorful concept without being too dull and predictable. Their debut EP, WE, first, was honestly disappointing because it felt a bit safe despite the musicality behind the production. Color Crush, on the other hand, succeeds because it presents everything in a balance—from great music theory and production to stunning visuals. With a release as high in quality like this one, ELRIS has definitely stepped up their game and made themselves worth keeping an eye out for. Now I can’t wait to see their performances for “Pow Pow”!
“Pow Pow” Title Score – 9.5/10
Color Crush Album Score – 8.5/10
Music Video Score – 9.0/10