Though LOONA is incredibly popular with international K-pop fans, I must confess I’ve never been super invested in them. I certainly admire their creativity and ambition, and I respect how their discography is so diverse and spans many genres (including their pre-debut solo and subunit work). But at the end of the day, most their title tracks are hit or miss with me. For the time being, we’re just not much of a musical match. That being said, I’ve started to become more interested in LOONA as they began heading down the girl crush route for their last couple of title tracks. So they’re on my radar, but they haven’t released anything I’ve fallen in love with yet.
(NOTE: Even though the full name of LOONA’s new song is “PTT (Paint the Town),” I’m just going to call it “PTT” for the rest of the post it reads a little smoother.
Now watch me slip up and write “PPT” at least once )
LOONA has already proved they’re cool and confident with previous comebacks like “So What” and “Why Not, both of which I enjoyed but didn’t spend a lot of time on in the long run. Now they’re taking a deep dive into the more powerful side of girl crush music with their new single “PTT,” a high-energy dance jam with a highly memorable beat and intense percussion. Though their last two singles featured more rapping, they decided to return to a more vocally-driven track this time around. It’s an interesting choice, since I think many parts of “PTT” sounds darker and more aggressive than ever – and that could be a good match for charismatic rapping. But I do think it was a good decision, because their smooth singing has a really nicel contrast with the track’s strong and dynamic arrangement.
I almost never look at teasers, so I was surprised to find that LOONA cited Bollywood as a major musical inspiration for “PTT.” Though I’ve always found Bollywood fascinating, I don’t know a lot about it – I’ve only seen a handful of movies, all of which were quite diverse in styles and soundtracks. So I can’t talk much about that aspect of “PTT,” but I think I understand why LOONA used this sound as an influence. The Bollywood musical numbers I’ve seen and heard are all so unique and appealing, making a strong impression with irresistibly enchanting rhythms and addictive energy. I imagine LOONA’s goal with “PTT” is also to have a “larger than life” song with a lasting impact, so the use of Indian musical instruments – especially percussion – definitely succeeds in that regard. (It’s also interesting how that sound is quite distinctive in the beginning, and then starts to fuse with other styles like hip hop and dubstep over the course of the song.)
LOONA is known for their dazzling performances, and “PTT” definitely follows through on that. Like I’ve said many times before, girl crush is one of my favorite concepts in K-pop. So when it comes to the choreography for “PTT,” I’m totally here for the strong energy. (Yves in particular is really killing it, and I feel like I spend most of my time watching her.) My one note is that I wish there was just a *little* more power in their overall dancing. I can see they’re going hard, but the percussion is so next level that the overall performance seems a little smooth in comparison – especially for a concept that’s painting LOONA as a group of fierce female warriors. I just think some parts needed to be a touch sharper to really punctuate that thudding beat.
As for the music video, I think it’s very aesthetically pleasing. LOONA has a reputation for high-quality aesthetic music videos, and you can certainly see that in “PTT.” However, I do feel like it’s very heavily based on their universe and lore. That would be great if I were a fan who knew them well and could pick up all of those details, but I’m not. I’ve seen all their music videos and I get a few of the big references, but a lot of it goes right over my head. And because of that, “PTT” unfortunately ends up kind of looking like any girl crush themed K-pop music video to me (albeit a very stunning one). So the film school student in me would prefer a video that was more accessible to any viewer, but I think LOONA fans will be happy with this one.
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.)
My reaction to “PTT” is about the same as it was for LOONA’s two previous comebacks: it’s a good song and I enjoy it, but I don’t think I’m going to spend much time on it. I think they a did great job with “PTT” – and I’m so happy they got a music show win for it – but my personal interest level isn’t high enough to inspire me to become a fan. However, it has reminded me that LOONA is most certainly worth keeping an eye on. So I’ll keep checking in on them with every comeback, and I’m certain they’ll eventually release something that I’ll be obsessed 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 BlockBerry Creative.