Sooo… the Wonder Girls are back (a good thing). Still nominally in band form (a good thing). With a new comeback entitled “Why So Lonely” (a good thing). Oh, and it’s really, really good (a good thing).
While it doesn’t reach the on-the-nose conceptual heights of their eighties
ripoff homage “I Feel You,” “Why So Lonely” works by taking some of those same decade-inspired expectations and playing with them. The band’s wardrobe and the video’s sets’ pink and yellow color schemes are decidedly retro-ish but it never goes full disco or psychedelic seventies which helps lend “Why So Lonely” an unsettling atmosphere (thanks life-size nightmare Ken doll!) that looks more like a seventies-inspired dream than an actual music video from forty years ago.
Similarly, “Why So Lonely” takes the tried and true summer comeback route of releasing a “beach jam” but then re-works the song into being a slightly more somber (and creepy) affair thanks to a slow, almost remorseful guitar lick and bass line and the Wonder Girls’ ability to lend every single lyric a weight that clashes wonderfully with the illusory breeziness of the music. The choruses may not be the most catchy things in the world but it is neigh impossible to not bob one’s head ever so heavily along with “Why So Lonely.” Sunmi and Yeeun are fantastic (poor Hyerim gets a bit short-shafted) and Yubin’s usual low-register no-nonsense rap delivery is tailor-made for the deliberatively-paced “Why So Lonely.” On it’s own “Why So Lonely” works. But the Wonder Girls make the song shine.
And speaking of shine, the Wonder Girls make the video for “Why So Lonely” SHINE. Every member of the group slays the comeback so hard that it’s tempting to ignore all the other things that the video does right (the video’s dusky lighting despite being shot entirely on sets, Yubin on drums, the whole revenge on the Ken doll that is just the right amounts of unsettling, the whole band thing, Yubin on drums, the crystal clear editing that makes the conceptual story line easy to follow, Yeeun’s hair color, and Yubin on drums). You can literally click to any point of “Why So Lonely” and melt.
Well, almost any point.
KILL IT. KILL IT NOW.
In all, although “Why So Lonely” wasn’t what I expected it to be at all (the dorm room college band sound combined with the pseudo-seventies theme and THAT HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE OF A DOLL) it manages to execute everything it set out to do perfectly. The band sounds great and looks jaw-droppingly amazing, all while making a memorable and visually cohesive video that doesn’t rely on dance-in-a-box tactics or a bevy of strobe lights. The Wonder Girls are back and they’re as wonderful as ever.