HI HIGH BITCHES!
We wanna try some right now: Poison Paradise is officially hopping on the hallyu thanks to staff writer Mikey Xi.
Let’s get the nitty gritty out of the way.
LOONA (stylized as LOOΠΔ), of Blockberry Creative, is probably the greatest and most innovative group to happen to K-Pop and perhaps pop music in at least the past few years. With a unique rollout process, each of the 12 members were revealed previously with their own single, music video, and b-side. Every 3-4 girls would debut as a sub-unit as well, each with their own unique style and sound.
Technically in less than two years LOONA released 19 singles and videos (filmed throughout 7+ different countries) with 12 mini albums, three albums and two re-releases, with five live show and promo cycles. Possibly the greatest feat of all? They’re good. From pure bubblegum pop, a tango-inflected orchestral ballad, Eurodance, and horn-driven throwbacks, the group has proven their versatility as a group and each girl as a solid solo contender.
Also, each music video has contributed a side of an intricate storyline that makes up the LOONAVERSE. What’s the story? We don’t even know ourselves. Fans have come up with many theories, some debunked, some still holding up. What we do know? Not a lot, but some of them have super powers like travelling through realms by eating cherries, the youngest is lost in the forest, the oldest is an android, a couple are gay as hell, and one loves bread.
Tired? They’re just barely getting started.
Say hello to HeeJin, HyunJin, HaSeul, YeoJin, ViVi, Kim Lip, JinSoul, Choerry, Yves, Chuu, GoWon, and Olivia Hye. Get familiar while you can with each of their stellar solo debuts.
August 20th, 2018: “Hi High,” the highly anticipated debut single has dropped, nearly two years after first girl HeeJin was first revealed.
You’d be hard pressed to find a bubblegum track that carries the same bursting energy that “Hi High” does – and I challenge you to find anything this brilliant in Western pop today.
After such a wait, it’s hard not to feel giddy and proud of the fully realized unit, but objectively the song is a certified bop! Starting off with their signature spoken intro (“I know it’s been a long day, I haven’t seen you today / you’re somewhere, I’m sure”), “Hi High” brings together the 90s punchy pop sounds of LOONA 1/3’s “Love & Live,” the euphoric effervescence of LOONA / Odd Eye Circle’s “Girl Front” and the pure unbridled glee of LOONA / yyxy’s “Love4Eva” in a genre that Blockberry describes as “Hi Energy.” This has become the inspiration for the title of the mini album: [ + + ], (like [1/3 + Odd Eye Circle + yyxy]… get it?) Innovative queens.
For Orbits (their official fanbase name) who may have felt underwhelmed by “favOriTe” – which wasn’t the debut single, but a “lead” single, because Korea said fuck you – this is surely going to be a destiny fulfilled moment. Significantly more screen time for all your biases, a much more engaging video to further the LOONAVERSE story, and a towering chorus to satisfy any thirsty pop fan. ViVi still only has one line though, and I am calling for justice for our Hong Kongese princess. Production team Digipedi (SHINee, BoA, Seventeen) still consistently comes through with the visuals, the girls are quite literally racing to find each other and to snatch Twice’s wigs. Through highways and abandoned waterparks the girls of Odd Eye Circle collect each girl, joining together at a pink construction plant for one of their most engaging choreographies yet.
It’s not uncommon at all to find a K-pop girl group to go for the cutesy concept, especially early on in their careers, but you’d be hard pressed to find a bubblegum track that carries the same bursting energy that “Hi High” does – and I challenge you to find anything this brilliant in Western pop today. Quite possibly a favorite K-pop quality of mine is how groups don’t necessarily put sadness at the obvious forefront of the song. However, behind earworm woo-o-o-o-ahh’s, the shifting minor chords and melodies add a sense of underlying somberness to the bright track. “Love is even crueler than college exams,” they sing over sparkling synths, a glorious line encapsulating all the cheekiness, melancholy, and unashamed youthfulness that pop should be.
Pop stans love hyperbole and the ever rabid Orbits are certainly no exception. However, with just how strong and engaging the entire LOONA experience has been so far, it’s not hard to understand how the fanbase has grown to so fiercely stand behind their girls. K-pop has been really the industry consistently serving quality and consistently fresh material and after two years of nearly non-stop content, LOONA is still bringing fresh and unique moments to the table. Keep an eye on these girls, because it’s about to be moonrise kingdom up in this bitch.