Have you been watching Girls Planet 999?
You might remember how Korean TV network Mnet had the Produce series out for a significant chunk of K-pop’s current era, and yes, they faced a lot of controversies; the biggest of them being that each season was RIGGED (you saw that correctly). However, that might not be the case here, considering all eyes who are watching the program have Mnet on a leash. Dressed under a new name, Girls Planet 999 aims to create a new girl group meant to promote globally with Korean, Japanese, and Chinese members, and it’s basically Produce’s fifth season.
So it comes as no surprise to anyone who’d been following Produce that a slew of new tracks would be coming to further promote the trainees; this time, they are under the single title “Creation Mission“, compiling the four tracks performed by the remaining trainees in sets of 5 and 7. Will each song prove to be worthy of your vote or will you turn off the TV with these tracks? Read on!
Sung by: 7 LOVE Minutes (Kamimoto Kotone, Seo Youngeun, Kim Suyeon, Sakamoto Mashiro, Nonaka Shana, Zhou Xinyu, May)
When we add you and I, other solutions are all “pass”.
First up is “U+Me=LOVE“, performed by 7 LOVE Minutes, which oddly enough, contains all of the Planet Pass girls of this round (Kotone, Xinyu and Suyeon), and all members that were kicked out of their prior groups for overflow (Youngeun, Suyeon, Shana). And, spoiler alert, this was the group that won the benefit! But that doesn’t come as a surprise when you watch this performance in action.
Speaking on the song, described as an electronic pop song on the formula of love that contains powerful vocal and dance produced by some of the hitmakers who were responsible for songs like “Dun Dun Dance”, “U+Me=LOVE” was the one song I was anticipating highly from its demo track (it was giving major IZ*ONE vibes), and it delivered very nicely. I still prefer whoever did the demo track as they had the power that is slightly lacking vocally here, but each girl in the song delivered, regardless.
Highlights include Kotone’s fierce and fiery rap skill that somehow continues to be underrated, Youngeun’s amazing vocal ability that proves she’s main vocal material, as well as Shana’s vocal skill that she continues to showcase greatly on the show. Performance-wise, the girls’ efforts paid off immensely, so it’s no wonder they won the benefit – and considering the fact that it was the harder choreography containing girls who were kicked out/eliminated, it’s well-deserved. I’d say they had the real formula for success this time around. ⬛
Romanization: Baem (Snake)
Sung by: Medusa (Fu Yaning, Shen Xiaoting, Su Ruiqi, Cai Bing, Kim Dayeon, Wen Zhe, Ezaki Hikaru)
I’m a snake on my way to hunt you…
“Snake” continues the powerful aura in the single, performed by seven-member group Medusa. Containing the most Chinese trainees, under the angelic leadership of Kim Dayeon (who might just be Mnet’s one-pick for the entire season), as well as original J01 Ezaki Hikaru, “Snake” is what “Rumor” was in Produce 48 – a display of fierce power through dance and dark concept backed by an in-your-face moombahton pop track.
Unfortunately, as far as the remaining songs on the single go, this is my least favorite track. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a great song, however. It is a fantastic track – there are highlights to shine here, one of which includes Fu Yaning taking over main vocal of Su Ruiqi to deliver a deeper, more powerful vocal that isn’t particularly usual for main vocalists. Sure, she doesn’t have the high note hit and control that some of the girls in the show have, but it’s still very mesmerizing. Additionally, Hikaru has some lines that really prove she’s all that and more.
The main quip here is that it just feels like it can’t escape sounding like “Rumor” (and any other moombahton tracks for that matter). It is generic, and outside of girls who have such power in their voices, other girls like Wen Zhe (who is my C-pick) are drowned out, making their parts forgettable. It’s not a complete hindrance, but considering we’re at this mark in the competition, I need my girls to pull some slither and take a huge bite in their songs. ⬛
Sung by: POP! CORN (Huening Bahiyyih, Kishida Ririka, Chen Hsenwei, Ikema Ruan, Nagai Manami, Guinn Myah, Choi Yujin)
Why did it have to be today?! What should I do?!
With a hit of that synth, we’re transported to the 1980s with “Shoot!”, described as a synth-pop song with major cute retro vibes that detail a mistaken admission of admiration to a crush, amplified by a performance that has the show’s cutest bunch of members (including its oldest and youngest members, how about that) with the appropriate name POP! CORN.
“Shoot!” is also my absolute favorite song on the single, and it comes as a huge surprise. I was never fond of the demo track presented to the Planet Guardians, as it felt like it was going to be a situation where I’d have to hear more cutesy IZ*ONE-like songs again (and to preface, this is NOT saying they’re all bad like *ahem* Airplane, they’re just not as good as other songs). However, I was completely proven wrong by the full version of the song, which has its instrumental at hyper-speed, and what makes this song click so well is that it is delivered with so much fun and joy. It completely did its demo justice.
The biggest highlight for this is, obviously, CLC’s Yujin belting out for dear life in a vocal performance that has me wondering why she was never offered main vocal in the first place. Additionally, performance-wise, each girl, including Ruan and Manami, the latter being my J-pick, destroyed. I believe they’re the other group who had the closest shot at the benefit; sadly, it was a missed shot, but they’ve definitely hit my heart with this. ⬛
Sung by: Unicorn (Kim Bora, Kawaguchi Yurina, Kang Yeseo, Kim Chaehyun, Huang Xingqiao)
Should I fly up high, in front of my eyes that spreads across. My utopia.
Lastly, we have “Utopia“, performed by Unicorn, and this is the group that Planet Guardians thought was a good place to have all the main vocalists of the season dumped into. Not saying that’s bad or anything, but when each song in the Creation Mission needs a main vocalist, maybe having all of them in ONE song was not a great choice (haha).
Described as another powerful pop song but with a freshness that only producer YOSKE can provide, “Utopia” is the polar opposite of “Snake”, taking on a bright image that reminds Planet Guardians of GFRIEND’s earlier concepts, or to an even better extent, Lovelyz and their fairy-tale like concepts. “Utopia” is a beautiful pop song, with its twinkly instrumental that beats like a heart in love, and it almost feels like the song breezes past you with its airy feel.
The main highlights here are obviously the vocal deliveries, especially that of its main vocal, Kim Bora, my K-pick AND one-pick (let’s go Boranators!!). However, we cannot ignore the other girls: Yurina delivers so beautifully, Yeseo definitely proved she’s center material, Chaehyun continues to have such an angelic voice, and Xingqiao has a great lower register that complements the other girls. My only quip is that it is undoubtedly generic, but with it being delivered so well, I don’t think that hinders it too much. I’m on cloud nine with this song, and I can see utopia from up high. ⬛
Another amazing “new track” effort from Mnet’s reality shows!
I always love seeing the newer tracks come out from the Produce series, especially since I have a deep appreciation for the ones that came out from Produce 48. So, of course, it came as no surprise to how much I was anticipating these four tracks to deliver, and there’s no denying that each set of girls delivered. I do wish there was more to enjoy, but I definitely give the “Creation Mission” single a definite recommend.
There’s a little something here for everyone; if you like IZ*ONE, you’ll probably enjoy the electropop dance style of “U+Me=LOVE”; if you like GFRIEND or Lovelyz, you’ll probably like the serene feel of “Utopia”; if you’re a fan of Weeekly, or to some stretch, earlier CLC works, “Shoot!” might be up your alley; and lastly, if you’re just a general girl crush fan or someone who likes darker concepts, “Snake” is likely for you. This is a fun single, so watch for the play counts to rise up in the next few weeks…
MUST-LISTEN: Shoot!, U+Me=LOVE, Utopia
For more Girls Planet 999 reviews, visit the archive!