Weeekly – ’Play Game: Holiday’: big strides forward from K-pop’s bubbliest rookies

The Play M Entertainment girl group begin to refine their sound while proving they’re far from a one-trick pony on their latest release

Following ‘After School’ – one of the most unstoppable viral songs of the year – was always going to be a tall order for Weeekly. But on their first release since that Song Of The Year contender, the ever-growing girl group deftly prove they won’t be defined by just that one song. As they’ve already shown us on their first three EPs, the Play M Entertainment seven-piece – comprised of Soojin, Jiyoon, Monday, Soeun, Jaehee, Jihan and Zoa – are far from a one-trick pony.

‘Play Game: Holiday’, their first mini-album outside of the ‘We’ series, continues to set Weeekly up as a group who can turn their hands to a variety of sounds with ease. Simultaneously, though, it also refines what is becoming their signature sound. The title track ‘Holiday Party’ is bright and bubbly, swapping lines over colourful pop that lightly throbs with 808 bass. Like their previous title, the lyrics depict scenes of exuberant fun. “All night, let’s be loud and play until the morning,” Soeun sings across the track.

‘Holiday Party’ might have been chosen to be the lead single this time, but this release is so strong that two other contenders could easily have taken its spot. Opening song ‘Weekend’ is just as infectious and fresh, it sparkling with little synth twinkles and one of the girls’ giddy “brrrrrrah!” peeking out of the mix in the background. ‘Check It Out’, too, is a challenger for promotion. It’s balmy and breezy, like Weeekly have invited us to a vibrant beach party on a tropical island. The members’ chanting that pops up at regular points might get a little grating after a while but, just like the recurring whistled melody, it encapsulates the song’s spirit perfectly.

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Rather than just being a colourful party-starter, ‘Play Game: Holiday’ also shows some other sides to Weeekly too. There are poetic lyrics amid ‘Check It Out’’s buoyancy, Soeun singing about “crossing the orange sunset, as if in a dream we drive / Let’s meet the stars a little early tonight”. On the experimental ‘La Luna’, that artful expression continues, the girls comparing themselves and another person to the Earth, moon and other aspects of the solar system. “You’re the brightest among the stars in the Milky Way,” Jiyoon raps . “I want you to smile under my blue moonlight.”

Lyrically, it might be beautiful but ‘La Luna’ will likely split opinion among the group’s fanbase, otherwise known as Daileees. Over the top of the members’ flawless vocals is a smothering loop of skittering breakbeats that – fittingly for the mini-album’s summer theme – sounds like a chorus of cicadas taking over a warm night. Unfortunately, they also drown out much of the rest of the track and create a discordant soundclash that gets uncomfortable to listen to at times.

‘Play Game: Holiday’ closes with something far softer – a stunning ballad in the nostalgic and crisp ‘Memories Of Summer Rain’. It’s the group’s best slow track yet, showing their strengths lie not just in bops that can start TikTok dance trends but also in material with more emotion and depth.

After the success of ‘After School’, it would have been easy for the group to play it safe in a bid to capitalise on that attention and convert as many casual listeners as possible. Instead, they’re still making bold moves whose intentions should be applauded, even if they don’t always land as well as they could. “Even on boring days, it’s a holiday when we’re here,” Zoa and Soojin tell us on ‘Holiday Party’, and ‘Play Game: Holiday’ backs that claim up well – all that’s left to uncover is where Weeekly will take us next.

Details

weeekly play game holiday review
  • Release date: August 4
  • Record label: Play M Entertainment
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