At this point, the four member K-Pop behemoth that helped usher in the (still currently) sexy era of K-Pop known as SISTAR has two very well-worn gears. The first gear is SISTAR’s summer jam, pool party sound, a genre unto itself that the group has pretty much slayed over the past three years (“Touch My Body,” “I Swear” and “Loving U” comfortably fit in this category). SISTAR’s second gear is less easily defined but it nevertheless is fairly easy to recognize. The sound is darker and more dramatic, there’s usually some horns sprinkled about to complement Hyorin’s voice and there is an undeniable layer of decadence to the production (Think “Alone,” “Give It To Me” and SISTAR19’s “Gone Not Around Any Longer“). SISTAR’s latest comeback “I Like That” squarely falls into the second category. While I personally enjoy SISTAR’s first gear more than it’s second, “I Like That” is yet another fine example of what makes SISTAR such an appealing group (Hyorin) and why they remain one of K-Pop’s most consistent acts (Hyorin).
Before getting to the positives of “I Like That,” it cannot be stressed enough that the comeback does have a few noticeable flaws. A few, such as Dasom’s comparably average contribution and Bora’s ho-hum rap delivery, are as baked into the SISTAR formula as Hyorin’s dominance on the choruses and hooks. It certainly doesn’t help matters that the single’s most disjointed moments occur during the Dasom verse into Bora rap, where “I Like That” seems to rob itself of some pretty well-paced momentum. Then there’s the music video, which falls back on familiar dance-in-a-box territory with it’s disappointingly cookie-cutter direction and set pieces. It’s basically an SM Entertainment production with a deeper shade of pink.
However, as sub-par as those elements are, the rest of “I Like That” more than makes up for them. The production (outside of the aforementioned Dasom verse and Bora rap) does a great job of constructing a SISTAR-ian banger of dancing horns, thumping bass and rollicking percussion that takes full advantage of the fact that the song is able to employ singers (Hyorin and Soyu) who don’t welter under the sheer booming volume that is being thrown their way (It is unfair to the rest of the genre that SISTAR gets BOTH Soyu and Hyorin). The choruses, while not particularly addictive, are pretty strong and definitely danceable. And as for the video, as seen-it-before as the direction and editing are, SISTAR themselves bring so much damn kinetic sex appeal to “I Like That” that they basically lift up the whole damn MV by themselves. Bora, Hyorin, Soyu and Dasom visually slaughter this comeback.
None of this is surprising. SISTAR was at the forefront of the sexy K-Pop movement and the group will likely leverage horns and prominent bass lines as long as Hyorin deems SISTAR worth her time. The group has essentially found a couple of concepts that they do better than nearly anyone else (the summer break road trip and the sexy vaudeville-disco hybrid), a fact that has to be the envy of nearly every other K-Pop group out there (Hell, most groups would love to have one distinct style) and “I Like That” nestles within SISTAR’s very respectable discography. Judged against the rest of SISTAR’s catalog, “I Like That” is a standard SISTAR comeback. It doesn’t reach some new height that the group hasn’t hit before nor does it break new ground that the group hasn’t covered. On that basis, it’s a bit lukewarm. However, even a lukewarm SISTAR summer release has the power to be pretty damn sizzling on its own and “I Like That” neatly fits that bill. With “I Like That,” K-Pop’s summer has officially arrived.