There was considerable hype in 2017 (at least in the K-pop world) for the debut of Weki Meki (pro. “wee-kee mee-kee”) due to its two most well-known members, Yoojung and Doyeon, being former contestants on the mega-popular Korean music competition show, Produce 101. Their individual popularity grew as they were two of 11 girls chosen to form the short-lived, beloved project group I.O.I, so once they returned to their original agency, it was assumed that everything they’d touch would turn to gold.

So, Yoojung and Doyeon were joined by Sei, Lua, Rina, Suyeon, Elly, and Lucy, and debuted as Weki Meki on August 8 with the polarizing 'I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend'. Capitalizing on their given “teen girl crush” concept, the girls matched the loud energy that 'I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend' provided with sassy vocals, a powerful beat, and catchy melody. The album sold well over 47,000 copies, making it Korea’s top-selling album by a 2017-debuting girl group. So what made it so polarizing? Some listeners called the instrumental disjointed and messy, and promotions heavily highlighted Yoojung and Doyeon, leaving the rest of the girls behind. With the release of their follow up mini-album Lucky a month ago on February 21, how did Weki Meki fare in comparison this go-around?

The title track for this album, titled “La La La”, is a funk-inspired powerhouse. Where 'I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend' was loud and almost frantic in its instrumental and vocals, giving off a flippant first-year-of-high-school vibe, 'La La La' is better paced and more calculated in each verse, the respective pieces of the instrumental, and each voice that comes in. There’s an acknowledgement of every member’s purpose in the group, and their functions are highlighted strongly with parts that fit their strengths. Altogether, this track and the entire mini-album can be considered, to keep with the theme, their matured, senior-in-high-school step forward.

The album actually starts off with an introductory song, 'Lucky', an interlude of sorts, which behaves like a short tease of what you’ll hear in 'La La La', and actually eases you into the next song. It has that high, loud energy from 'I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend', but the mood quickly shifts once 'La La La' begins. From there, two fan favorites emphasize the matured sound previously mentioned with the robo-disco tunes 'Iron Boy' and 'Metronome'. While “Iron Boy” stays within the confines of a teenage love song, longing over that guy who won’t even give you a second look, 'Metronome' dives into the rebellious side of not conforming to what everyone else expects of you while staying true to yourself. It's a grimier, electronic tune, but the lightheartedness returns with 'Color Me' which takes heavy inspiration from 1980's pop-funk and fills Weki Meki’s iron, metronome-like world with color.

The only track that’s inconsistent with the feel of the album is the final song, 'Butterfly' – a track already released before Lucky that was made specifically for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. 'Butterfly' is a cover, originally by former Korean rock duo Loveholics, updating the song with today’s synth trends and penchant for sharp choreography (the highlight of this choreography being Weki Meki incorporating sign language). The song is an uplifting cheer song, ideal for the Olympic games, but not related to the “teen girl crush” theme the group presents and is therefore an afterthought; however, let that take nothing away from the song itself! There’s always that one song that’d be perfect elsewhere, it's just the way the scene goes. Overall, this is a get step forward for Weki Meki, and an early K-pop treat for 2018.