One of the first new girl group releases for 2021 in Korean pop comes from FNC Entertainment’s Cherry Bullet. 2020 was a quiet year for the girls, with only two singles that didn’t quite make dents into the market. That being said, both songs were bops (one problematic, but I’ll talk about that some other time), and I continue to appreciate every effort these girls make (especially since I was a big Hayoon stan back in the Produce 48 days).
The girls make a pink-filled return with their very first mini album, ‘Cherry Rush‘, containing tracks that, much like Red Velvet, accentuate both a ‘Cherry’ sound and a ‘Bullet’ sound. The aesthetics for this album are incredible and totally my preference, but will this mini album fare the same? Is this mini filled to the brim with too much cherries for my liking, or will it hit my heart like a bullet? Let’s check out ‘Cherry Rush‘!
“Love So Sweet” is the mini’s title track, and it slaps! It has more of a ‘bullet’ edge to it, opting to go for a lower tone, similar to “Hands Up”. What really makes the song tick is the incredible hook that comes following the chorus, a whistle-with-me jive that has you doing the ITZY’s-Ryujin-does-WANNABE dance to its beat. The song overall is one influenced by the 80s, while merging standard dance elements to give the song a modern Korean pop feel. It doesn’t feel very special in terms of any originality but it still keeps you moving, has you shushing with every ‘shh’, makes reference to 2020(dB), and still manages to feel sweet like candy. ⬛
Romanization/Translation: La Pam Pa (Follow Me)
Now, if “Love So Sweet” felt more like a ‘bullet’ track, then “Follow Me” is most certainly the ‘cherry’ track of the entire mini. Reminiscent of the feel-good vibes you’d hear from their first comeback track “Really Really”, this sugary sweet pop track is actually really good, and it is just really fun to jive to. I was initially hesitant with that grating intro but once the snappy bubblegum synth kicked in, I knew I was in for a great time. A few twinkles here and there, some cute vocalizations in the BG, and a formula that can squeeze in a rap or two makes for a sugary recipe that is worth following. ⬛
Keep Your Head Up
Romanization: Pom Nage (Keep Your Head Up)
Translation: In Style (Keep Your Head Up)
We’re transported back to the ‘bullet’ vibes of the album with “Keep Your Head Up“, a song that revs itself up from the start before zooming through each member’s vocals before kicking into high gear in a bass-and-synth euphoria that hits with power at every note. This is Cherry Bullet at their most girl crush, with vocals hitting the ceiling while that same ceiling shakes with every pulse of synth. A slight break in between before we actually crash into the third act of the song, “Keep Your Head Up” is frantic, but never unforgiving in its jam. It’s a fantastic B-side, and one that I keep my head jamming to. ⬛
Romanization: Meosdaero Hae (Whatever)
Translation: Whatever You Want (Whatever)
“Whatever” keeps up the synth momentum, this time at a much lighter tone than “Keep Your Head Up”, but it still retains an 80s feel that’s evident on “Love So Sweet”. This track definitely has more ‘cherry’ vibes, and feels much more “Q&A” in sound. It’s a great B-side, as its synth zooms in and out in catchy fashion, with its 80 dance and drum beats to give it a bit of oomph. It is a little bit weaker in comparison to the tracks that preceded it, as its chorus lacks the punches that those same tracks had, but it still manages to sound like a good disco-like time. It also contains a fun little rap that hits. Whatever grade this song gets, I’m sure someone out there enjoys this jam. ⬛
Romanization: Jongsori (Ting-a-ring-a-ring)
Translation: Bell (Ting-a-ring-a-ring)
The final track on the mini is “Ting-a-ring-a-ring“, which is the slower track of the mini. However, it is midtempo, containing a booming beat paired with a fluttery guitar and twinkly piano. It is a suitable ending to this fun mini, as it has all the vibes of a wintry snowfall, with its cool and breezy melody matched with the girls’ soothing but cute vocals. This song is not terrible by any means, and it doesn’t feel at very forgettable. Its placement on the mini-album feels very typical, but it does end the mini on a good note. “Ting-a-ring-a-ring” is worth a listen or two to get you in that winter mood, much like the bells that end this final song. ⬛
Cherry Bullet’s ‘Cherry Rush‘ is indeed a rush! And it is one that is worth a listen! Not a single song on the mini was bad, and there’s a little bit of something here for everyone from old and new Cherry Bullet fans alike. Personally, the title track and “Keep Your Head Up” are worthy of replay listens, as they have the oomph, the quality, and the catchiness to keep your attention. I certainly hope this mini album garners the group more attention, as their catalog of music continues to get better and better. My love for Haeyoon remains, as her vocal prowess continues to impress. Fingers crossed for a first win? Rush to this cherry-filled treat now!
MUST-LISTEN: Love So Sweet, 폼 나게 (Keep Your Head Up)
For more Cherry Bullet reviews, visit the archive!