Foregoing a short, instrumental intro track, Crayon Pop opens the album with “Vroom Vroom,” a disco-inspired song similar to other retro K-pop concepts. This track has a very “Crayon Pop” feel, that is, it’s a song that sits in their comfort zone; those who have listened to earlier tracks can easily imagine a choreographed routine to this song. However, there is also a certain maturity in their voices showing some growth as a group of vocalists. The high-pitched nasal singing is far less present in this track, making it more appealing to older listeners and showing their potential as a more serious performance group. Of course, it wouldn’t be Crayon Pop if there wasn’t also a sense of light-hearted fun, which you can see in the title and hear in the song. The instrumental is very light, featuring funk guitar, upbeat synthesizer, and percussion bells, so fans don’t lose that quality in the group. As an opening track, “Vroom Vroom” serves as a great song to establish the signature Crayon Pop sound while also showing new growth that I then anticipate will be heard through the rest of the album.
There’s been an ongoing trend in K-pop, since about 2013, to collapse several musical genres into a single song. Often, these songs work poorly (musically, though they may still be popular) because of sudden, jarring transitions that clearly demarcate each style. Crayon Pop goes for a multi-genre song with “Too Much,” but it works really well for them. Although there are a couple of different styles and instruments used for the verse, bridge, and chorus, the producing team transitioned into them very well by keeping a consistent electronic bass-line rather than three separate instruments for each part of the song. Admittedly, I don’t find that this song has a distinct “wow-factor,” it is one that will stay in your head after just one listen, which makes it a successful pop song as far as I’m concerned. Again, we hear Crayon Pop’s signature childlike fun with a slightly heavier, more mature sound.
3.Doo Doom Chit
Their promoted track, “Doo Doom Chit,” really wakes you up as it hits you with synthetic percussion beat and saxophone from the first few notes. It’s easy to see why they picked this as their title track, it’s by far the most similar to their prior releases, using several instruments that can be found in other popular pop tracks in Korea and abroad. After the initial shock wears off, you can still hear that matured sound they’ve been showing in this album thus far. Their vocals sound controlled and stable, which is a nice reprieve from typical favor shown toward strained high notes. While this is a really fun and catchy tune, I didn’t feel there was much variation: it lacked a climax, and the instrumental started to loop after a while. With production quality going up in K-pop tracks, “Doo Doom Chit” comes as a bit lackluster in comparison, especially considering the quality of the prior two songs.
I’m really loving this retro-pop direction the group is going in; they manage to add their own little twist on a sound that’s been done by tons of groups already. “Boogie Woogie,” is a great mid-album track, where most albums insert a slower track by this point. Not only is the track well produced, it’s also more easy-going than other songs in the album. That’s to say, it’s not trying too hard to be a pop song or a disco song, so the members’ voices meld really well with the instrumental. Though a bit repetitive, I don’t find it distracting; in fact, it makes me want to listen over again. Another sign of a successful track is when the artists sound comfortable on the track. It’s not to the point where Crayon Pop sounds like they’re not being challenged as vocalists, but it does sound like they were at ease recording, even having fun in the studio. “Boogie Woogie” meets my expectations of a signature Crayon Pop track that’s been elevated to reflect their improvement as artists.
Just when you think Crayon Pop is going to have a slow ballad, they instead present a downtempo disco track. The bass in this song is interesting because it sounds like it’s a plucked tempo rather than strummed, which I don’t often hear in pop songs. Some might hear the record scratches in the song and claim a hip-hop influence, however, DJ-ing in rap actually started as a disco trope as MCs mixed songs on turntables. While I’m not sure if the producer had this in mind, I thought it was a nice call to disco’s various instrumentals. Again, this song is catchy, and well-performed, but it lacks that standout quality that I’ve heard in some other songs this year.
6.Get it Here
The group picks the tempo back up with “Get it Here,” which is a more traditional pop track. At first, I thought this song wouldn’t impress me, but as it ended the first verse and entered the chorus, I found myself enjoying this song as much as “Boogie Woogie.” They take a few more vocal risks in this track and incorporate more background harmonies, which shows a well-rounded group. The chorus is the most dynamic part of this song, and I found myself wishing there was more of that sound through the verses. The instrumental also works really well in this track, it’s a bit formulaic, but high quality.
Crayon Pop ventures out of the disco influence with a laid back, Island-influenced song. The tempo is reminiscent of a reggae song, but it’s not obvious as it weaves with the kind of sound you might hear as a kid’s show soundtrack. I actually find myself wanting a ballad instead, because it might have shown off their improved vocals a bit more than this track. Compared to the rest of this album, this song just doesn’t fit well, nor does it do justice to the group.
8.Love Couple (ft. The Zoo)
In the last full song on the Evolution Pop album, Crayon Pop recruits rapper The Zoo to do verses, while the group sings an extended chorus. It follows the tradition of typical rapper-vocalist collaborations, though strangely enough, The Zoo has more presence on the track than Crayon Pop does. Despite that, I think this works as a nice ending track that isn’t quite a ballad, but slows down enough to ease listeners through finishing this album. It ends a little abruptly, but not so much that it’s jarring, and concludes this full album really well. Overall, though most of the tracks didn’t rate past a 4, this album is definitely worth a listen and really showed that Crayon Pop can be taken seriously as artists without losing the fun that made them go viral.
Review written by Bisola