Apink’s “%% (Eung Eung)” is a Pink Paradise
Veteran girl group Apink is back to adorn the masses with their eighth mini-album PERCENT, which dropped January 7. The six-track album is headlined by the oddly addicting “%% (Eung Eung (응응))”—a fast-paced song that only a senior group like Apink could pull off.
The entire music video is dripping in pink goodness. All of the girls look stunning, draped in sequins, lace, and pearls. The visuals make up for the somewhat confusing melody. After their summer smash hit “I’m so sick,” which successfully veered away from Apink’s predictable cute concept, the expectations were high for what they could come up with next. “%%” can take a few listens to warm up to, but it showcases the group’s ability to tackle out-of-the-box concepts and to recreate their sound at the same time. The ‘80s-esque electropop track has interesting beat changes, a more even distribution of vocals (as opposed to “I’m so sick”), and that distorted “eung eung” is something to look forward to every time the chorus comes around. For a group of Apink’s age, however, the dance break could’ve been utilized better in creating a more energetic choreography.
Six tracks is a strong length to have each one stand out, which makes PERCENT a solid mini-album. Second track “Hug me” utilizes the same beat as Red Velvet’s “Automatic,” emulating that same ‘90s R&B sentimentality. It’s laced with a sincerity reflected through their vocals, particularly Bomi’s tone. Immediately after is the fun “What are you doing?” A definite highlight on the album, the verses burst into a groovy pop chorus that flirts with electronic piano chords. The refreshingly light track is a tall glass of lemonade, and the bridge erupts into an explosive electronic instrumental. To continue the retro vibes, “Push & Pull” is reminiscent of upbeat pop concepts tackled by pop giants AOA and Girls’ Generation. It’s definitely a step outside of Apink’s style, but the listener is transported back to 2012-2014, when several songs sounded like this. However, the girls redeem themselves with the funky “Enough.” The fifth track oozes a flirtatious confidence, and the real instruments make the track feel organic—as if it were a live studio session. “Memories” wraps it all up; for some reason, the beautiful harmonizations are pushed to the back, but the ballad is still strong enough to get the listener to appreciate both the vocals and structure of the song.
“%% (Eung Eung)” could be considered a risk for Apink, but PERCENT is so well-rounded that the slightly odd title track fits right where it should. It’s heartwarming and humbling to see senior groups like the girl group continue to branch out and experiment with their sounds. And the success they’ve found in doing so is well deserved.