I’m a girl group super stan, but even I wasn’t excited when WM Entertainment first announced that they were launching a “B1A4 little sister group” called Oh My Girl. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little B1A4 every now and then, but I don’t like them enough to need a female equivalent. Plus, B1A4 are already more feminine than any girl group could ever be, so what’s the point?
Anyway, fast forward a month or two later, and I’m on YouTube having my MIND BLOWN by the best girl group single of the year: “Cupid.”
“Cupid” was composed by A-list hitmaker Shin Hyuk, who was behind major SM tunes like EXO’s “Growl,” SHINee’s “Dream Girl,” f(x)’s “Pretty Girl,” and SNSD’s dreamy “Romantic St.” Even if you didn’t know the production details, it only takes one spin to see that “Cupid” has the SM signature of being simultaneously commercial, trendy, and completely avant-garde all at once. It was probably even pitched to Red Velvet and SNSD at one point.
“Cupid” feels like it was specifically created to mirror the dizzying euphoria of adolescent love. Hyuk builds the song around marching band drums that always feel slightly off-kilter to whatever Oh My Girl are singing, rapping, or chanting at the time. The result is beautifully unstable–you never quite know if “Cupid” wants to sweep you up in its elation or devour you and implode.
The only time the song stops to smell the roses is on the hypnotic bridge; all the noise temporarily fades away and everything briefly turns into a cotton candy daze. Then the fat horns, drums, militant shouting, and cheerleader chorus return seemingly bigger and more determined to steal your heart than ever before.
“Cupid” sounds like SM’s girl groups at their absolute best. It destroys the Ice Cream Cake album and hits Pink Tape/I Got a Boy levels of pop genius. It makes me wonder how I got so swept up in all the other great rookie songs over the past six months when something as spectacular as this was just around the corner.
Once you go “Cupid,” you never go back!