Sadly, I get increasingly picky about rookie groups as time goes by – it’s truly not about quality or personal preference, but rather a natural result of the ever increasing age gap. I want everyone in this industry to succeed and do well, but I just can’t really connect to people who are more than a decade younger than I am. Most new idols are actually closer in age to the sixth grade elementary school students I teach, which sometimes makes me feel rather awkward. So I usually only pick up a couple of newly debuted groups each year, and PURPLE KISS is definitely one of my choices for 2021. They totally wowed me with their debut “Ponzoña,” and I was super excited to see what their very first comeback would be like.
Since I like to have fresh eyes and ears for new releases, I usually don’t spend too much time on teasers. So, I only knew that PURPLE KISS’s latest song was called “Zombie” before I watched the music video. Based on the name, I assumed it might be a dark and alluring track like “Ponzoña” was. “Zombie” definitely continues their horror theme, but mostly keeps it to the aesthetics. Musically, it’s surprisingly fresh and upbeat. It’s not exactly a full-on disco song, but it does double down on those funky dance vibes. And while it didn’t grab my full attention on the first listen – mostly since there’s lots of other music out there distracting me – it has definitely turned into a guilty pleasure in the time I’ve been working on this post.
The choreography does an excellent job of bringing out the song’s fun and whimsical energy. The movements are so precise, and they match the beat incredibly well. I like how PURPLE KISS and their choreographers were brave enough to really go there and spend most of the performance actually dancing like zombies. I thought it would be hard to do much without veering towards “Thriller” territory – but while there are some inevitable similarities, a lot of it is pretty fresh and unique. Many of the details are fascinating, like their claw shaped hand gestures and the ways they imitate grabbing or biting someone. I know that sounds gruesome, but it actually looks really cool and stylized onstage – most of the choreography is very jazz-based and isolation-heavy, so those sharp jerky movements blend right in.
And of course, I have to talk about the delightful Halloween-themed music video featuring the members of PURPLE KISS enjoying the zombie life. I mean, I *think* they’re supposed to be zombies since they’re interested in brains and blood and all… and it looks like a member’s eye even pops out in one scene. But they don’t look and act like your stereotypical zombies, so I’m not 100% sure. Though PURPLE KISS started out all dark and mysterious with the glamorous “Ponzoña,” they’ve done a complete 180 with “Zombie” and its bright neon color scheme – that’s some seriously impressive duality right there. It reminds me of other campy horror-themed music videos, like TWICE’s “Like Ooh-Ahh” (also featuring zombies) and Red Velvet’s “RBB.” Like these videos, “Zombie” is enjoyable to watch because it’s fun and quirky and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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.)
Zombies are having a bit of a moment in K-pop right now – they’ve been in music videos for Golden Child, Sunmi, BTOB, and now PURPLE KISS. I don’t know why it’s such a trend these days, but PURPLE KISS has certainly gone all-in on the concept and made it their own. I have to admit, “Zombie” isn’t as perfect a match with my personal tastes as “Ponzoña.” But I’m so impressed by the amount of creativity on all fronts, and I think it’s extremely engaging and entertaining. PURPLE KISS is definitely doing everything right, and they’re becoming a serious contender for my favorite rookie group of this year.
(“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: Featured image and music video belong to RBW Entertainment.