Girl’s Day, one of K-pop’s hardest working girl groups as of late, has spent the past year churning out hit after hit, employing sultry singing and production to convince fans that they were ready to take on a more mature image.
While their transformation has attracted its fair share of criticism as the hits have gone by, I credit Girl’s Day for being able to show that “sexier” songs don’t have to all sound like the same thing: “Expectation,” “Female President,” and “Something” are all distinguishable tracks that stand on their own, although they can now be considered as a thematic trilogy within the group’s four year-old catalog.
It certainly has been a while since we’ve seen Girl’s Day release something more sugary than sexy, but the girls seemed to know that summer calls for a more dramatic variation in sound with the release of the delightfully bright single “Darling.”[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=JP9NuaxhgcM]
What makes “Darling” so great is that it doesn’t feel like Girl’s Day is pulling a 180 and fleeing to the “Hug Me Once” or “Twinkle Twinkle” brand of cute that they were formerly known for. If there’s more than one way to be sexy, there’s also more than one way to be cute, and “Darling” comes off as a more mature version of cute that’s as cheeky as it is sweet. After all, isn’t that the spirit of summer in K-pop?
The lyrics are actually thoughtful in their message. Between choruses asking their crush to call them “darling,” the girls drop sweet similes such as “You flew on top of my heart like a butterfly/You shoot love at me like a bee.” The following verses before the song hits its final chorus are especially sweet, calling to mind the excitement and youthful spirit of summer love:
At the ocean where the stars spill across
I want to softly lay in your lap
And fall asleep
While the music video doesn’t offer as much substance, it’s incredibly colorful and fun. The girls dance in between scenes showing members baking cupcakes, enjoying drinks poolside, and having what may take the prize for the world’s most inefficient car wash ever.
The dance remained on the simple side for the scenes that showed choreography. But it’s nothing to grumble about since the video’s true purpose is to showcase Girl’s Day in a summer wardrobe doing summery things. The outfits in the dance segments are fabulously eye-catching: the bright red against the yellow, white, and blue backdrop just looks as sugary as those lollipops they keep singing about.
I also loved the use of yellow in this video. Just when the music begins to creep closer to the chorus, yellow explodes on the screen — in the outfits, on the background, and in the furniture of the solo shots. It’s an energizer for the eyes and definitely grabs attention.
The four girls did a great job with this — if you’re not feeling super guilty that your summer isn’t going as well as theirs, you’ll at least wish you could be hanging out with them as they blow bubbles and play darts. I especially enjoyed Sojin, whose expressions just seem to be a magnet for the camera.
This is the kind of video a song like “Darling” needs. I couldn’t help but bob my head along to the beat. The trumpets, the piano, and the cheerful chorus make this song an infectious listen. “Darling” is cheery pop with jazz elements, and it sounds as bright as the video looks. Nothing surprising happens in the song or video, but the entire package is just too charming to resist.
A song like “Darling” makes me confident that Girl’s Day has found a comfortable niche for themselves, both cute and sexy in a way that most will find likeable. They can release “Darling” and have it not cheapen any of the work they’ve done over the past year.
This is similar to the way a summery song like SISTAR’s “Loving U” feels different yet oddly consistent with the group’s identity. In fact, “Darling” could be considered Girl’s Day’s version of a “Loving U.” It has the same summery, cheerful spirit that makes you want to go on a summer adventure with your friends.
Girl’s Day shows that they are still on their hot streak with “Darling.” They may be taking it easy with this single, but they’re still hustling to shoot up the ranks and doing a commendable job thus far.
(Dream Tea Entertainment, YouTube)