Momoland have had a tough time since they hit the spotlight. From the wave of haters complaining about their 'similar' songs (it's still impossible to agree on this one) to the drastic reduction in the number of members this year, they've gotten it a lot worse than they deserve. But with Thumbs Up, they're sending a message that they're back in the game running, and not ready to bow out any time soon.
Thumbs Up is a quintessentially 'Momoland' song. From the jazzy brass to the arcade-game feeling as members take turns to deliver punchy song lines, they haven't exactly tried anything new with this song. It's far from a failiure, though. It's packed with personality and great onomatopoiea, from the 'beep beep beep's to 'clap clap clap's. A particular highlight is the first verse, in which Hyebin throws away the 'girly' sound with a low, refined crooning that's refreshingly different. Sure, it follows the girl-group template religiously, but when done well, what's the problem?
The lyrics interested me particularly. Not because their meaning was original - the 'I'm too fabulous for my own good' storyline has been a staple since Ke$ha's 'Tik Tok'. What was interesting was the positive spin on social media: the idea that's it's just a fun, exciting thing and not the anti-mental-health monster it's often portrayed as in songs. The song is, after all, called Thumbs Up. As to whether needing likes to prove your self worth is a good message or not is up to you.
"My phone won't stop
All day long beep beep beep beep"
It was a pleasant surprise to hear there was a Thumbs Up English Ver. Though I don't feel I understand the meaning any better from this than the original, it's smooth and natural (unlike lots of English Ver.s out there, not naming any names). There are some funny and unusual lyrics, though. They might not be relatable, but I wish they were.
"The blue badge on my account
I have too many followers"
The Thumbs Up S2 & SJ Remix Version has a distinctly darker tone. Where the original is a wacky feel-good song, its remix is a booming party hit. Despite its losing some of the originality of the main version, this remix fulfills the longing for a little more oomph like an itch that had to be scratched.
I accepted the first three versions of this song, but a fourth is just filling space. That said, hearing Thumbs Up Instrumental has given me a new appreciation of the song's luxurious, carefully considered and layered beat. I can't say I'm going to be playing this much, though.
Overall, the song wasn't new or the best thing I've ever heard, but it was a solid effort and a satisfying listen. I've not by any means given up hope on Momoland.
Kpop Review Café's Overall Ranking: 5/10
Written by Krystal