CLC - BLACK DRESS
CLC is a 7-member girl group under Cube Entertainment. They originally debuted as a 5-member group back in 2015, but shortly after their debut they added in new members Elkie and Eunbin. They've released a good chunk of minis, a lot of which have fantastic b-sides regardless of what implications their title tracks may or may not have had, and I myself have thoroughly enjoyed a good portion of their discography. Admittedly I was not a fan of "Hobgoblin" as a direction for them, which is honestly a subject I can talk about at length some other time, but the teasers seemed to show that "BLACK DRESS" was actually going in similarly mature direction with less noise and a more snappy, addictive style.
The song instantly starts with some droning wubs and heavy claps on the drums with a few snipped samples of the girls saying "black" before the song actually begins. A pounding bass and fluctuating wails of synth boom in to blast the song off with a high-energy kick, giving us a taste of the refrain before the verse begins. A softer synth pulls in while the heavier bass continues to batter and the girls sing. The pre-chorus is where we hear what we got in the teasers for the song, with devishly poppy vocals and the especially enchanting "ay ay oh oh oh" lyrics excellently placed behind them.
The drums fire up before we go to the chorus, which instrumentally is the same as the beginning, though we get some more lyrics this time around. A post-chorus heavy drop of oscillating electronic noise precedes and intersects into the second verse where we get a rap before the singing returns. The bridge is as expected, dropping the cumbersome weight of a majority of the instrumentals and slowing the song down to allow the vocals to shine briefly before the final run of the chorus. "BLACK DRESS" really pulls together here, as we get a bit of an anthem-like chanting for the last refrain, and it actually sounds fantastic among the hefty nature of the song.
The pre-chorus to this song to me is where the song shines the most, featuring an irresistibly delightful vocal melody that is undoubtedly the catchiest part of it all. I'll admit that I got very worried when the song started off with that edgier, cumbersome sound that was reminiscent of a cross between "Hobgoblin" and EXO's "Ko Ko Bop." However, the end of the song definitely wrapped things together to a more coherent and sensible conclusion than I was expecting. "BLACK DRESS" is a better combination of styles that I felt "Hobgoblin" was going for but ended up missing, and to my own surprise, I quite enjoyed this song after listening to it in its entirety.
The video opens up with a few members walking in suits toward Yeeun, who is laying on a table blindfolded. When they reach her she sits up and pulls the blindfold off, and then the video really starts. We instantly start getting scenes of the girls starting to show off the choreography in a mix of both the suits, some black dresses, and some black and yellow outfits. There's lots of imagery going on, with the girls doing weird things like turning over an hourglass, looking through some opera glasses at nothing, or sitting blankly and silently on the phone.
We get a bit more indication of what's going on as we see a few members observing the others in a room at a table together, writing notes down on what they're seeing. Seungyeon gets a dance solo, more phone calls are made, some scissors start to pass around, we get that pole dancing from the teaser, and then Yeeun suddenly snips her hair off to a short length. And dear god does she look incredible with that style.
Honestly I can't make heads or tails of what's actually going on plot-wise, but as a good portion of the video is devoted to showing off the choreography, I can talk about that. The dance looks great, matching the song and keeping that mature atmosphere especially in combination with the stylistic fashion choices. Which I'll also take a moment to just say were heavenly. Girls in suits are a weakness for me, so that's an automatic win in my book, but honestly all of the outfits and girls just looked amazing.
"BLACK DRESS" is definitely not what I was thinking it would be from the teasers, and I was very worried within the first fifteen seconds or so, but I'll be damned if I say that I wasn't sold by the end. I'm normally not a fan of songs with massive shifts like this, but this time around it wasn't jerky or jarring, it was done tastefully and executed well. I do have minor issues with the song, such as the random use of autotune at one point, but those pale in comparison to my fondness for a lot of the other elements that fuse to make a song that absolutely bumps. If you liked "Hobgoblin" or other songs that feature sudden heavy drops, this song might be a bit on the tamer side for you, but I still recommend checking it out.