So far, 2015 girl group comebacks have been rather safe — and slightly disappointing. Adding to girl group summer take-over, Girl’s Day burst onto the scene this week with the release of “Ring My Bell” and their new album Love.
Prior to the release, Dream Tea expended a great deal of effort into promoting the upcoming single — everything from teasers where the members embodied famous romantic heroines to multiple articles publicizing Duble Sidekick‘s participation in the lead single’s production. Promotions even gained the attention of Olivia Hussey who gave a shout-out to Minah on Twitter and further contributed to the hype.
With the release scheduled alongside contemporaries including AOA, Nine Muses, Mamamoo, Sistar and Girls’ Generation, Girl’s Day and Dream Tea needed to either go big or go home. Well, they certainly came out swinging. “Ring My Bell” is bold, bright and surprisingly different from their most recent safe discography. The release is packed with so much color, noise and flirtation that it’s hard to ignore. But I have to wonder if perhaps Girl’s Day went a little too overboard for this comeback.
The MV for “Ring My Bell” is definitely visually stimulating. It’s full of neon colors, dynamic sets, Hyeri‘s wig, a random disco-era hype man, bicycles, fountains and, of course, the beautiful women of Girl’s Day sporting appropriately bright hair colors. In each set, the members show off a variety of concepts: ’60s mod swirls, Grecian goddesses, denim-clad babes, angels in the clouds and even dart playing goofballs. Alongside the various scenes of the members of Girl’s Day playing and lounging about come shots of the group choreography. Girl’s Day has always had interesting key points in their choreography (like the ‘I need to pee’ move in Something), so it’s not a total surprise that the “Ring My Bell” dance includes an open leg wobble move and gratuitous pelvis shots. Not sure how that will go over with music shows, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Between the bright sets, the fast paced cuts and the quirky choreography, the “Ring My Bell” MV is packed with the kind of energy we expect for summer comebacks. At the same time, the MV is so overrun with colorful cuts and concepts that it is more of a chaotic hodgepodge than an MV that does anything to enhance the track.
Perhaps the MV feels a little over the top because the track, in short, is sloppy. “Ring My Bell” is centered around the idea that bells ring when you see the person you love. The ladies of Girl’s Day have spotted just such a man and are set on making him theirs before the night finishes.
Honk honk, please move other girls, get out my way
I will have you for sure
tonight oh boy im fall in love
moon light, I wanna follow the moon and leave with you
Musically, the track begins with a surprising — but not unpleasant — harmonica riff before diving straight into the hook with chants of “Ring My Bell.” Suddenly, though, the track transitions into double-time in the first verse. From that rapid transition onward, the song feels too fast, even during the (slightly) slower chorus. Not only is the song too fast, but between the rapid tempo changes, poor layering, over-compression and weird space ship alarm sounds (is that still a harmonica? or synth?), the track is too noisy.
Stepping away from the noisy back track, the melody and vocals are fun — perfect for the season — but the production took many of the song’s strengths and stomped on them repeatedly. This is a shame because “Ring My Bell” has some lovely melodic moments in the verses and pre-chorus. The bridge almost redeems the song. The slowed tempo with Minah’s sultry vocals and Yura‘s surprisingly strong rap verse make me wish the whole song could sound like that. However, the bridge is quickly cut off by a return to the rapid-fire chorus and final chants of the hook.
The “Ring My Bell,” package feels like a term paper written recklessly as a last minute all-nighter. The track was sound until someone had one cup of coffee too many and attacked the sound board with a delirious enthusiasm. What’s left then is the shell of a good song that is over-run with volume, sound effects and a tempo that is impossible to follow, making me want to raise my fist in the air and curse Duble Sidekick. The MV also suffers a similar fate, with an overexcited creative director who had a lot of interesting sets but failed to stitch everything together into a cohesive final product.
Overall, the comeback adds to a series of lackluster summer releases. Previous Girl’s Day concepts have been far more conceptually impressive, but this round it feels too sloppy and overzealous. Keeping in mind that this is a summer comeback, the intention of “Ring My Bell” is to be fun and energetic. In many ways, it rises to the occasion. Yet, it fails to zero in on anything that could make the comeback distinctive, aside from a disorienting jumble of crazy and harmonica.
Readers, how do you feel about “Ring My Bell”? Is it an ear worm or an ear ache?
(YouTube, Images via Dream Tea.)