It’s been over 2 years since Ladies Code has promoted as a group. They’ve been present, with multiple members making solo debuts, but it’s been a while since the trio was, well, a trio. Now returning with “Feedback”, this is also a return to the vibrant retro sound that provided their strongest tracks.
After the accident five years ago, Ladies Code shifted to a darker, moodier sound. They no doubt had the vocals needed, but it limited their energy and charisma, two of their greatest strengths. “Feedback” provides a synthesis between the colorful, manic pop of tracks like “Pretty Pretty” and the sensuality of “The Rain”.
Pulling influences from New Jack Swing, “Feedback” is a confidently alluring song. There’s a very blunt grace to it, matching the very direct lyrics with a coy, shifting track. The bass is buried in the mix, the guitar riffs melting into the brass and piano, while the synths are light and unobtrusive. It’s a track that’s a clear whole, captivating in its perpetual motion, and picking out the parts is an exercise in frustration. The only truly distinct elements are the vocals, which fits the lyrics perfectly.
“Feedback” is a track of relentless seduction. Ashley, Zuny and Sojung make it clear that they want someone and they will get him. If he doesn’t like one aspect, showcase a different, newer, or more polished you until his shell cracks. Fittingly, each members voice is highlighted, her unique qualities on display. Sojung’s husky tones form the first half of the pre-chorus, the raspiness provided a fierce determination. Zuny’s clear tones are used throughout as a grounding force, and Ashley’s airier vocals give a much needed lift to the production as a whole. It’s a marvelous interplay, each member layering over the others for an enjoyably tangled track.
The MV also utilizes the lyrical themes of crafting a new you each day. Ostensibly framed as a behind-the-scenes shoot, we get to see Ladies Code in a wide variety of personas. There’s the 90s- inspired outfits of the opening, the girl-next-door looks on the balcony, glamour shots, classical settings, and club outfits. They all give a different perspective on Ladies Code, presenting them as coy, confident, lonely, heartbroken, or exuberant. None of these portrayed as inherently false– people contain multitudes, and what you show the world can easily change from one day to the next.
Nevertheless, it’s still a performance, playing a version of your for the world, and “Feedback” highlights this as well. Most MVs strive to get the audience to suspend their disbelief and take what we are given as real. “Feedback” never lets that happen. There’s always something to remind you that it’s a show– floodlights and photo umbrellas in the background, consultations with the photographer. Ladies Code even head to a theatre to watch their own performance. After all, if everyone’s acting, then all the world’s a stage.
“Feedback” is a stellar comeback for Ladies Code. It’s fun and seductive, balancing playful charm and a mature drive. I’m glad to see them back, and even more glad to see the retro-pop has comeback as well.
(Images via Polaris Entertainment, YouTube)