gugudan - The Boots
gugudan is a 9-member girl group under Jellyfish Entertainment. They debuted midway through 2016, and have only had a few comebacks since then. I personally really loved both "Wonderland" and "A Girl Like Me," and from the image teasers as well as the MV teaser, "The Boots" looked to be taking gugudan's image in a more serious, mature direction.
"The Boots" kicks off with a rag tag team of diminutive percussion and walloping bass slapping together while a tune is whistled behind them. An ascending, gravely sound drives the song to its first verse where this continues while members take their turns singing. The same gritty transition is used at the pre-chorus, where deep and rich tones of synth smoothly glide over rhythmic clapping and a buildup of rapid drumming before we finally hear the chorus.
The beginning of the second verse pulls the song into a faster-paced rhythm with a hopscotching synth bass, fingers snapping, and matching vocals, but the latter half of the verse features Sejeong utilizing more powerful notes and they contrast beautifully with both the first verse and what we hear in the second verse just before them.
This is basically the exact type of song I was imagining when I saw the name of the song and the type of styling that they were going for. My biggest critique is going to have to be that the first verse kind of felt lackluster and not memorable, but that's also part of what made the second verse better, so it's a bit of give and take. The vocal melody during the chorus is absolutely addictive and is where the song shines the most, though the dance break for a bridge was also a welcome surprise. The sudden incorporation of jazzy horns, droning bass, and electric guitar caught me off guard, but it wasn't jarring so much as just plain unexpected. The ending to the song really pulls all of the pieces together in a fluid way and gives it a definitive conclusion that feels pleasant.
The video opens up on Sejeong walking up to a look at a few items inside of a glass case with a giant smirk on her face, and cuts to her walking away with the items missing before we're quite literally blasted into a cosmic scene of all of the girls showing off the choreography. More of the girls are seen wearing similar hats to the one Sejeong stole, playing a game similar to chess with crystals for pieces, and figuring out ways to steal more things that they're interested in. A few effects are used throughout to give them catlike eyes or to create a weird pattern over individual items in the scene that make them stand out.
Let me start off by saying that the dance break with all of the members suddenly pulling out a more intense, hip-hop style of dance and aesthetic honestly had me wishing that gugudan would give that concept a full attempt. Still, "The Boots" has it's own concept and I think it's executed beautifully in this MV. There's a great amount of variation in here, from colors to scenery, dance and musical styles, and I think that for the most part each member got their own moments to work the camera. There's no doubt that Sejeong and Mina seemed to be in focus more often than others, but I expect that at this point.
While nothing particularly mind-blowing happens throughout it, I liked this video enough. There's a ton of the choreography shown on top of everything else, and I think that the concept was done well enough. I don't quite understand what the purpose of the idea of the girls being able to turn into cats was, but it was still a fun idea nonetheless.
I've loved gugudan since their debut so I may be a bit biased, but I think that "The Boots" is easily their most marketable comeback to date. There's a great use of instrumentation to accentuate a lot of their strengths, and while I wish that Haebin and Nayoung got to show off their vocal capabilities as much as Sejeong got to, it doesn't mean Sejeong didn't nail those parts down in their place. I wholeheartedly recommend this as a song to check out no matter who you are, as I think it's got such broad appeal.