The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Oh My Girl
Real Love Verónica A. Bastardo , May 12th, 2022 08:07

K-pop's queens of the summer return with a set of songs for every taste

There's something pleasing about clichés. They’re not memorable, we know that, but it’s also true that we get satisfaction when the beat drops in the exact way we expected or the melody is intuitive enough to learn it at the first listen. That’s what often happens when you get to listen to the music of K-pop girl group Oh My Girl.

Real Love is a bop makers’ tracklist. Don’t expect any showstopping or intellectual musicality. Not even any clear storytelling. But do be ready for some flirty, overly sweet, and extremely catchy melodies sung by girl-next-door voices. It is, however, unexpected to hear the usually piercing septet in their lower register through the whole album. A tiny but refreshing twist after many high-key focused projects.

As a whole album, Real Love may be hard to like – unless you’re a fan of the group. But there’s definitely a song for every taste if you’re into pop. ‘Real Love’, for example, is a mid-tempo funky pop song. You know those overly used claps in vintage-be-like songs? Well, in this track those claps are what actually bring some energy, while the melody goes from smooth in the chorus to almost spoken in the verses. The use of silences is what gives that satisfied sense of yeah, this beat drop sounds pleasing.

Some songs on, the album sound like David Guetta, Little Mix and Madonna decided to make tracks together – with the k-pop production flavours focussing more on making a joyful song, rather than a party hard one. ‘Drip’ is an example. It begins a lot like the intro of ‘Titanium’ then drops with a Madonna club house style. The voices play with multiple dissonant harmonies, and the structure… Oh My God! It’s three different songs in one and even changes the tempo abruptly from the pre-chorus to the chorus. 1. Classic dance pop; 2. Gay club house; and 3. Boy group hip-hop.

In k-pop you’ll find several types of girl groups. Oh My Girl could fit in with the cute ones because of their cherry-blossom-delicate looks and shiny high-pitched voices – a sound usually associated with youthful sounds. They know how to use that to their advantage in slow tempo songs like ‘Sailing Heart’. It falls in the dreamy romantic sound narrative, you know? A classic piano that goes from delicate to forte with their voices. It’s a very peaceful and emotional song. Maybe it’s the vocal harmonies that give the sensation of other instruments in the composition or their potent interpretation that sells it as a solid ballad.

In general, 50% of the album sounds a lot like a pop-EDM proposal from 2010–2014. Listen to ‘Dear Rose’ and the electronic ostinato hook and you know what I mean. While the other 50% follows the k-pop trends from 2019 to 2022: random structures, distorted bass synths and a solid combo of catchy and smooth melodies with something close to a rap verse. Apart from the visual concept of love with the classic pinks and elegant looks, the storytelling is very plain and pretty redundant in comparison to other romance or flirty pop songs.

There’s music made for deep narratives, music made for high aesthetic purposes or artistic experimentation. Sometimes it’s just about enjoyment without necessarily having a deep thought in it. This album is the last one. It fails in delivering a bop as iconic and addictive as past hits ‘Nonstop’ or ‘The Fifth season (SSFWL)’. I’m hoping the queens of the summer will bring us something more compelling in the next season.