SONAMOO was one of last year’s most hyped rookie group’s and also one of the biggest failures. Netizens made fun of their name (it literally means ‘Pine Tree’ in Korean), they pissed off SHINee stans for stealing the group’s light stick colour, their debut single “Deja Vu” didn’t make the Gaon chart, and the kids on Pann didn’t even mention SONAMOO when discussing the new rookie groups.
“Deja Vu” ended up growing on me, but objectively it was a mess. It was outdated instead of being retro or nostalgic, and the concept was just B.A.P’s “Warrior” pasted onto a girl group. TS Entertainment tried to rectify the situation by rushing follow-up promotions for the Apink-esque “Just Go” with a friendly college girl concept to match the current trend of more innocent groups, but it wasn’t enough to pull SONAMOO out of irrelevant nugudom.
Now they’re back with a new single “Cushion,” and it’s exactly what they should’ve debuted with. It’s got everything–it’s cute, sexy, fun, and fierce all in one, and best of all, it’s fresh, despite sounding a little like “Ice Cream Cake.”
Newcomers EastWest are behind the production, who are a new team under frequent TS collaborators Duble Sidekick. As far as I know, EastWest’s only other song is a duet from Shannon and rapper Yook Ji Dam (although they contributed to “Ring My Bell” along with a bunch of other people), which makes “Cushion” their first big idol single. It’s so good that I’m already anticipating what they’ll bring next and crossing my fingers that they’ll work with SECRET.
Admittedly, the “Cushion” lyrics comparing a cuddly guy to a pillow are pretty stupid –there’s no way for “He’s like a cushion, like a cushion!” not to sound ridiculous– but K-pop thrives on ironic stanning, so the cornier something is the more I usually like it (unless it’s G-Dragon, of course).
On top of the great song, SONAMOO have also sorted out their image. They’re bright and cute now like every other rookie group, but still with some sass and swagger. It’s more on trend than what they were doing before and suits them so much better than the female B.A.P concept.
Like I said before, I enjoyed “Deja Vu,” but from this point on I’m pretending it never happened and that SONAMOO debuted with “Cushion.”