Following up their strong comeback/debut “Deepened” (because, let’s be real, it was pretty much a debut for a completely new group), Brave Girls is back with footwear fetish anthem “High Heels,” a song that sounds disappointingly dull and is combined with a video that lacks an imaginative spark to make up for it.
The main problem with “High Heels” is that most every facet of it refuses to go at any other speed than neutral. The beat bops along at a brisk march, courtesy of a rapping snare and a bass line but that aural backbone overwhelms the horns and riffs that could have given “High Heels” some much needed flavor (blame the mixing on this one). This problem is compounded by the vocals which are auto-tuned enough to blend right into a single that already has problems with sounding like one long mashed note. None of the singers are given a chance to stand out with the exception of Hyeran who provides some much needed burst with her rap. Add in a chorus and a hook that simply aren’t as catchy as a fluff pop song like this requires, and you have a song that desperately wants to be a quirky, fun, summer pop number but simply doesn’t convey the joy or build the elation necessary to pull it off.
“High Heels” tries to compensate for its oddly flat song with visual manic pixie girl overload. Trying to be both cute and sexy, the video doesn’t achieve either as well as it could have if it had simply committed to one trope over the other. While “High Heels” gets some good marks for mostly ignoring the old dance in a box trope (compared to the bare bones effort of their previous comeback, “High Heels” looks damn opulent), the resulting scenes lack a cohesion that would have made “High Heels” a more interesting watch. Instead, viewers are treated to disparate scenes that are only loosely tied together by shoes and the comeback’s desperate efforts to get each member of Brave Girls dressed up in a different hot outfit (with the exception of Hyeran’s hilariously awkward boob-cut baseball uni and Hayoon’s bunny getup) which ends up looking like an homage to, if not ripped straight from the playbook of, AOA and TWICE. The resulting video is definitely not awful (the decision to prominently feature Yoojung at every opportunity is a wise one that should garner some sort of humanitarian award) but it is also not very memorable, specifically because the “disparate and random but oh so sexy costumes that have nothing to do with each other” route has been done more successfully before by groups with much larger followings. Ironically, “Deepened” with its athleisure outfits and slow-jam R&B leanings is far more impactful than “High Heels” because it bucked so many of the trends that “High Heels” tries to revel in.
I probably like ‘High Heels” more than this review reflects, but there is little doubt in my mind that it represents a step back for Brave Girls after “Deepened.” The comeback is just a tad too visually derivative and aurally monotonous to fully enjoy. On the bright side… at least this comeback brought more Yoojung. That’s undoubtedly a Good Thing.