Out of the three girl groups who have made comebacks on the same day this week, I’m the least familiar with Rocket Punch. I know they’re from Woollim Entertainment and that one of the members is a former Produce 48 contestant… and that’s pretty much it. I have listened to their songs before, and I even remember thinking how they sounded good at the time – but for some reason, I only listened to each one once and then never went back. (Why am I like this sometimes… sigh.) So with Rocket Punch’s newest release, I decided to take a good look and really pay attention.
“Ring Ring” is the latest single to follow K-pop’s current “newtro” trend of bringing back retro sounds and making them contenporary. This song in particular really doubles down on those 80’s vibes, with a strong presence of synthwave and synthpop throughout. I’m not *technically* an 80’s kid because I was born in 1990, but for what it’s worth, I think it’s a pretty faithful and accurate throwback. The intro sounds like an 80’s song I’ve definitely heard before, though I can’t remember what it is at the moment. I think going this route is a good strategy for Rocket Punch, and not just because “newtro” is in right now. 80’s music is really fast-paced and energetic, but it’s also fun and bright. So, it allows them to show off more of their charms and talents without getting pigeonholed into a concept like cute or girl crush – which is a good thing for a group that’s still in their formative years.
But as smart as I think this creative choice is, I’m personally feeling it. This has nothing to do with Rocket Punch themselves, but more with the fact that I’m starting to get very tired of “newtro.” To be truthful, I was never that into actual 80’s music even as a kid. I grew up listening to it, and I certainly acknowledge that it was an era that produced many iconic stars and songs and helped define popular music as we know it today. However, it’s just not my favorite kind of pop sound. I managed to muster up a decent amount of excitement for the trend last year of excitement back when it first arrived on the K-pop scene last year, but I’m super over it now. I feel really bad because I don’t want to let that influence me with a group that I’m trying to learn more about, but I have to admit it does.
That being said, I do think “Ring Ring” is a catchy song. It’s definitely more memorable to me than Rocket Punch’s other tracks, which I don’t really recall except for “Bim Bam Bum.” (Believe me, I feel bad about it.) It definitely has the potential to either hook you from the beginning or grow on you. If I wasn’t tired of synthwave and was willing to listen more than a couple times of, I’m sure it would work its magic on me and make me come around eventually. And as usual, I think the choreography adds some more fun and dimension to the overall picture. Some of the moves border on being a little cheesy, like the highlight move when they pretend they’re DJs, but I think it’s charming and endearing.
While I’m not wild about 80’s music, I do enjoy 80’s style. So, I appreciate how the costumes and production design for the music video went all in to really evoke the time period. (I had a wave of nostalgia when I saw them bring out that super sweet boombox – I wish I had one like that.) I really like the bright and colorful outfits, but I kind of like the black and white ones even more – very 80’s chic. And I’m a huge fan of the lighting used throughout the music video, especially the gas station set. I love pink and I love neon, so both of them together is definitely a thumbs up from me.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
Like I said earlier, I’m pretty much maxed out on “newtro” music right now. So unfortunately, I will not be listening to or watching “Ring Ring” that much. That being said, Rocket Punch has definitely piqued my interest and made an impression on me with this one. I’ve resolved to be better about paying attention to them from now on, and I look forward to a future comeback that I truly click with.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to Woollim Entertainment.