Busters - Grapes
Busters is a five-member girl group under JTG Entertainment and Monstergram Inc.. They debuted late last year, and while they might not have had the biggest splash, I actually enjoyed "Dream on." "Lalala" was a bit too much for me, but on the whole I found myself interested in the group and hoping to see them pull out from their current level of popularity. They did get a bit of media play when it was discovered that people faked being their fans in order to get seats for other groups during Idol Star Athletics Championship, but I don't imagine that's the kind of attention they were hoping for. Regardless, I was excited to hear that they were making a comeback and I definitely wanted to give them as much attention as I could with a review.
"Grapes" is a song that is right on the verge of working for me. There are a lot of bits and pieces to this that I really enjoy, but something about it just left me feeling like it was all disconnected. While those fragments all work individually, it ends up feeling like separate ideas that are less cohesive and pieced together than one should expect. It's not so much on the jarring side of things, but the transitions are too weak and tame to leave a lasting impact.
Without getting too heavy into the details that we're all familiar with in terms of budgets for smaller and lesser known companies, I think that this song has clear indications of where those limitations play a role in the production value. The instrumentals aren't completely flat but they also don't punch with much force. More noticeably there are times when background vocals fall a little too closely to foreground ones, often threatening to be more interesting and attention-grabbing than they ought to be.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. As I said earlier, there were several portions of this song that I truly enjoyed. I think that the repetition of the syllables worked and made for a sticky hook. The high note of the song actually sounded pretty solid and the foreground vocal presentation was nice and neat overall. While the background vocals were a bit too loud for my personal liking, I simultaneously enjoyed and appreciated the fact that there were so many smaller intricacies there to pick out. This song isn't bad by any means, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if it was likely please a lot of listeners. For me, however, it just falls on the side of okay; it's not something that I'll be intentionally seeking to put on, but I wouldn't skip the track in a hurry either.
As I just previously mentioned, the limitations of being a company operating on a much more limited budget are bound to come into play as obvious markings, and unfortunately it showed a ton in this video. There's a single venue throughout the entire run, and what's likely more noticeable is the overabundant use of green screen to a somewhat poor effect. In fairness this was almost certainly done in order to parody the popular Tropicana commercials. The problem comes in when it's used so much in the video and the parody kind of just gets lost due to its overuse and lack of any actual commentary on the commercials. Rather than coming off as humorous, it just comes off as an attempt to employ a similar feel with no purpose other than to suit a concept that unfortunately just doesn't hit the mark in terms of actually being funny. Humor is subjective, though, so maybe the idea worked for other people.
That aside, there were some neat effects and fun ideas here and there that helped keep things interesting at the very least. The outfit choices were surprisingly decent and memorable and I felt like every member was distinct from one another. They even went the extra mile and mentioned the names of each member which I think is a great way to promote each girl and get new fans familiar with the group quickly. The use of balloons colored to look like grapes was clever and cute, too, and I kind of wish they had more creative ideas thrown about similar to that. Overall the video was entertaining and different enough to stick out in my mind, and while I don't think the humor landed quite as well as the director might have hoped, it did well enough at being original to glance past that con.
"Grapes" was a reasonably decent follow up to Busters' debut. It has a lot of great earworm elements that are sure to get stuck in your head and enough interesting visual elements that crafted a decently memorable comeback overall. If you're a fan of lesser-known groups or just enjoy more of the cutesy type of K-pop, give this one a go.