KARD is trading in their days in the tropical sun to take over the night with their next digital single, “Bomb Bomb”. Since their (unofficial) debut in 2016, KARD has captured the attention of fans with their tropical house music and rare group dynamic. At the time, their debut as a co-ed group in an over saturated girl/boy group world was a
fail-safe way to stand out and the tropical house genre was at the peak of its popularity. Fast forward to three years later, 2019, those two statements are now quickly becoming excuses in attempts to stay in the spotlight. In recognition of these issues, KARD’s new single “Bomb Bomb” marks a shift in their music as KARD strives to maintain their unique identity in the K-pop world.

Being a co-ed group is not easy, especially when marketed as idols. There are co-ed groups in different markets such as indie and folk-pop, i.e. Akdong Musician, Clazziquai and Urban Zakapa. In the idol market co-ed groups generally do not see much success unless the group is over-sexualized, i.e. Troublemaker, Triple H, and Nasty Nasty. KARD’s strength of as a group has been through their pragmatic male-to-female lyrical conversations, gender neutral choreography, and through their friendship in actual day to day life.

So how does this translate to their current release? In “Bomb Bomb”, KARD begins to test their waters as to how they can express their sensuality. Somin slinks in a black nighty, Jiwoo bares her back, BM dances topless and J.Seph attracts the viewer to him. There was once a K-pop fan that mentioned to me how impressed she was by boy band members staying relativity modest, that even a glimpse of a collarbone would send a fan blushing madly. Likewise, it would be difficult for a girl group member to adorn a black nighty or to be revealing without being viewed through an objectified lens.

KARD’s unique group dynamic allows for each member to safely express their own sensuality without repercussions. That is not to say that there will not be any repercussions, but the group dynamic may allow for a safer route in expression. The way the members protect their own inner friendships with each other can translate to how they can be protected with their relationship to the world.

This is important to note because “Bomb Bomb” is about a fun/wild night and the members want to be seductive. Musically the song retains the heavily influenced moombahton and reggaeton foundations of what KARD has built their discography around; however, the track picks up on some new influences. There are sounds of horns and trumpets replicating a Middle Eastern melody, there is a heavier emphasis on the thumping beats and rap, and the chorus is almost purely 100% a instrumental dance break. It is exactly what you would expect for the perfect “club-banger” type of song, it makes you want to dance the night away.

The lyrics of the song follows what the heavy beats are trying to imply:

Bewitched by your movements, she want it
Drippin like faucet
Getting drenched with sweat beads of passion
Even after this song ends. No pares y dame woah

“Bomb Bomb” is riddled in night club lyrical illustrations. The heat of the packed room combined with the dark of the night creates for the perfect moment for the members to be lost in their movements. Their inhibitions are low and their current desire is to convince their night’s prospect to not sober up, but to continue to “get drunk with the vibes”.

As mentioned before, the members of KARD want to be seductive. J.Seph takes on a role of a delicate passion as he is shown in red in his individual shots. J.Seph is also seen with a red cape and red smoke bombs. The red cape is used to entice and beckon the viewer closer and the smoke creates an allure. Jiwoo is J.Seph’s female counterpart as she is shown in red/orange in some of her individual shot as well. Jiwoo’s bare her back attracts the viewer with her willingness to be vulnerable but a glance back tells a coy story.

I see u eyeing on me
If you want, come get a taste
I’m sending you a sign
It’s written in your eyes, you thirsty all thirsty for this

BM and Somin represent straightforward types of sensuality. BM’s individual shots are filled with his powerful dance moves and literally being surrounded by fire. Fire can be hypnotizing and represent the pull power can have. Somin’s sensuality involves smoldering looks directly into the camera. Unlike Jiwoo who is being coy, Somin locks her eyes to pull her victims in.

KARD has been struggling to grow from their initial formulaic sound with their last few releases. They grew dependent on the sound that had skyrocket their popularity. “Bomb Bomb” is a strong step forward towards the venture away from that formulaic sound and image. Although it still has a Latin influence, it captures the essence of what made KARD so appealing since debut. It’s different and shows the willingness of the group to continue exploring their unique narrative.

(YouTube. Color Coded Lyrics. Images via DSP Entertainment.)