As far as comebacks go, Girl’s Day has been remarkably solid since it was reduced to a four-member group back in 2012. “Don’t Forget Me” signaled a growing maturity in the group’s concept that the quartet would realize through its run of music videos “Expectation,” “Female President,” “Something,” “Darling” and “I Miss You.” With each release being at least solid, it’s a bit surprising to see the group bumble through “Ring My Bell” – a messy production without a clear concept or memorable moment to call its own.
“Ring My Bell” has energy but its so unfocused that it makes the song feel long, even at a brisk 3:19 running time. The production tries to add variation through the addition of many elements but it just makes the song sound unnecessarily cluttered. Harmonica, bass, synths, swirling guitars and snares create a cacophony of sound that doesn’t let the vocals breathe in either the verses or the desperate choruses that try way too hard to make “Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-my-bell” a thing that will get stuck in people’s head through sheer repetition. Yura’s rap provides a brief respite from the meandering madness but theproduction is simply overstuffed (the final chorus in particular is the sonic equivalent of throwing a kitchen sink against a wall) and it makes it pretty hard to appreciate any individual elements. The pacing is quick but without much contrast in tempo, “Ring My Bell” stands still.
Sadly, the video follows a similar theme in that it’s pretty damn unclear as to just what the concept is outside of “dance-in-a-box and shimmy-the-legs.” What a neon-colored dart room has to do with a glitzy hypnosis chamber, a disco-fied water fountain, a hooped-out dark stage, Hyeri’s Star Trek captain’s chair or Minah’s perch on the clouds is anyone’s guess. It looks like Girl’s Day found an empty lot of used music video sets and said, “Sure, why not.”
On the positive side, the girls look pretty great (even if Sojin’s blond hair is a misstep that I will lament for days). The choreography, while not remarkable, is solid in a in a perfunctorily sexy way. And given the amount of outfits that Girl’s Day sports for “Ring My Bell,” it’s a miracle that there’s only one look that doesn’t quite work – the black and white striped/checkered outfits in the futuristic hypno-chamber that make Minah look like a missing piece of a checkerboard and Hyeri look like an escaped convict in a 1940’s stage play are definitely not favorites. Other than that, the members of Girl’s Day shine (especially Hyeri). If only the song and the video surrounding the group could tackle their part of this deal with equal measure.
Every day is a Girl’s Day but even Girl’s Day can have an off day and “Ring My Bell” is it. The song lacks a strong hook or melody and it tries to compensate for that by throwing in many different sounds at once, as if more is always better. The video tries to distract from its lack of a single good idea by hurling bright lights, diverse shiny sets and the majesty of Girl’s Day at the viewer (admittedly, the majesty of Girl’s Day can cover up a lot of sins) with somewhat mixed results. In a stacked month of comebacks, Girl’s Day may fare well because of their reputation and star-power but I hope that “Ring My Bell” isn’t one of the month’s better efforts (at least I can always fall back on Nine Muses’ “Hurt Locker”).
*I’ll do SNSD’s new song tomorrow instead of Waifu Wednesday due to the fact that someone has seemingly decided that July is the holy month of K-Pop.