The album cover of “Summer Party” is colorful and saccharine, harkening back to the girls’ “Twinkle Twinkle” days. However, what I liked about this release was that Girl’s Day didn’t fully resort to using aegyo as a ploy for attention. This time around, the proof was mostly in their vocals. Though the tracks in “Summer Party” are generically constructed, the vocals demonstrated in the tracks are unobscured by cuteness. That’s not to say that they have done away with the aegyo; “Summer Party” is more like a throwback to their early days but with vocals that match the style they are currently branding, which seems to be headed somewhere between miss A’s and SISTAR’s respective sounds.
“Summer Party” is a cutesy kind of party but it isn’t a “dump the whole box of sugar on top of the cake” kind of cutesy; it’s a “tea party” kind of cutesy that isn’t exactly prolific and mind-blowing but it gets the job done as a mini-album that is replete with summer sounds.
Summer Party (Intro)
“Girl’s Day World“, the intro track from the girls’ “Expectation” album, set the bar pretty damn high in terms of intro tracks so it wasn’t much of a surprise this track was a letdown by comparison. However, this intro track does its job well by introducing to the listener the general vibe of the mini-album. The “One Direction”-esque riff in the beginning immediately establishes the summery mood and the quirky electronic sounds in the background bounce along to the vocals, which are surprisingly pretty serious (as opposed to aegyo-filled). All in all, a very light-hearted beginning to a rather breezy album.
When I saw the teaser for this title track a few days ago, I was a little disappointed. After “Expectation” and “Female President”, I was expecting Girl’s Day to continue that more mature, sensual sound they had established and for them to return to their pre-“Expectation”, cutesy-to-da-max pop seemed like a huge step backwards. However, this track actually took me by surprise.
In a way, “Darling” is a compromise between their aegyo-quirky-pop from their early days and their contemporary sensual pop. The glitzy and what I would like to call casino jazz works well as a summer track because of the over-the-top frivolous nature of that kind of music. This frilly, retro sound is a throwback, not only to a more glamorous time in American history, but also to their pre-“Expectation” days as well, when this kind of track would sound absolutely appropriate to be branded as a Girl’s Day track (after all, fellow girl group Secret also released a similar sounding song as well).
However, much to my relief, the vocals aren’t dumbed down by aegyo. Rather, the vocals, for the most part, sound much more serious and contemporary. Minah gets plenty of parts to shine but the other members also get their vocal spotlights as well, which is much appreciated. The liberal use of falsetto sound extremely reminiscent of SISTAR’s “Loving U” and definitely adds to the catchiness of the song. Even during the particularly sweet parts of the lyrics, Girl’s Day never reaches saccharine status. There is an edge of seriousness to their vocals in this track as they eschew cutesy “singing” in favor of more mature vocal tricks such as the breathier, subdued tones during the verses and just belting it during the choruses. While it is not exactly a novel song, “Darling” turns out to be an appropriately cute and straightforwardly summery pop track that I will surely put on my summer playlist.
Look At Me
The next track tones things down with a slower paced RnB track. Sounds like something I would have heard during the slow dance portion of one of my high school dances. The low-pitched vocals at 1:33-1:47 threw the track off for me though because it sounded really unnatural, very strained, and completely unnecessary. Otherwise, I’m pleasantly surprised the vocals of Girl’s Day. I suppose I haven’t followed Girl’s Day too much so I don’t know a lot about their vocal prowess but it seems this group (or is it really just Minah?) has vocal talent beneath all that aegyo. From the violin and that melancholy chord progression to the nice vocals, “Look At Me” is not half bad, albeit again not being a very groundbreaking track.
The mini-album ends how it started – light-hearted and summery. “Timing” is a very straightforward pop track – bouncy, upbeat instrumentals with some quirky sound effects thrown in for good measure, standard wailing from Minah and nice vocals from everyone else. Pretty generic but a pretty light listen nonetheless.
I wouldn’t say this release was the soundtrack to some spectacular party, as was advertised by the intro track. However, I will say that Girl’s Day has come a long way since their debut and this summer release is evidence of their growth. They have refined their sugar and are no longer causing aural diabetes with their cutesy pop. This brief release commemorates their 4-year anniversary since their debut very well. The title track connects their sugary pop past with their more mature vocals (as evidenced by their recent forays into the sexy concept), effectively demonstrating where Girl’s Day comes from and where they are headed.
While “Summer Party” isn’t as exciting as the title may advertise, it is a light-hearted listen that is fitting for summer. It doesn’t take itself to seriously and the quirkiness that pre-“Expectation” Girl’s Day had makes a cameo appearance in this album, which is a nice change of pace after their last couple of serious releases. You won’t be getting your freak on at this “Summer Party” but it will certainly be a nice distraction for the ride to an actual party; that is, if you get invited to parties (unlike me).
Darling [glamorous jazz/doowop/cutesy retro pop from Girl’s Day early days but without the aegyo filter, more sophisticated vocals]