In which Eve and M.I.A. are mentioned, and yet…
Patrick St. Michel: The actual music on “Like This” is among the simplest Wonder Girls have ever worked with. It’s mostly a beat, hand claps and a squiggly electronic line set on repeat. This relatively minimalist backdrop allows Wonder Girls to play the role of dance teachers, which they handle well — the lyrics jump from ad-ready lines imploring us to ditch the hum-drum (“escape the weary, tiring, boring, exhausting daily life”) to actual dance instructions, designated-rapper Yubin devoting her verse to hyper-specific instructions. The song’s flash-mob feel has become a contrived marketing move in South Korea, but I find it hard not to move at least a little bit in public when I’m listening to “Like This.”
Will Adams: If you’re gonna have your video look like amateur footage of a flash mob gone viral, shouldn’t the song everyone is dancing to aspire to be something a bit more than terminally unmemorable Nickelodeon pop?
Brad Shoup: I guess it makes me a crank to think “Like This” should have been retired as a title after the Kelly/Eve masterwork. Anyway. The sour harmonics in the pre-chorus are mind-boggling, like having your party and harshing it too. The rest is heavy-filtered bounce, and does the trick, but I’ve already got the taste for the decay.
Iain Forrester: Different again from both “Be My Baby” and the more obviously sideline “The DJ is Mine”, I haven’t heard them this minimal before. The synth hook nags away unchangingly and the verses take little tilts and turns but they never stray too far away from “LIKE THIS, YO” (“LIKE THIS, Y’ALL?”). It cajoles; it entertains; it’s enough that they don’t need much else and the confidence is rewarded.
Katherine St Asaph: 2,000-word thinkpiece on K-pop’s use of “y’all,” GO. The Wonder Girls have already given you your steady writing music.
Anthony Easton: “Like this go/disco go this” is six words of pure dance fever, almost as good (and almost as stripped of language) as “Love to Love You Baby.”
Alfred Soto: It’s missing something crucial: a bridge, a middle eight? I wouldn’t have noticed if the vocals had heft instead of perk.
Alex Ostroff: I love the glitchy swirl of the beat, the infectious chant of the chorus, and those lovely harmonies that wander down chromatic scales right before the shouts of “like “this” kick in. The verses don’t have much heft, but the song doesn’t need to support much, and the “Get Me Bodied“ handclaps do more than their share of the lifting.
Colin Small: The best parallel I can think of for this song is M.I.A. Both somehow manage to extract some of American hip-hop’s hard-hitting power without a lot of baggage. But “Like This” isn’t street rap as in the case of Maya, but the Organized Noize-era TLC with the injection of a lot of bass. I’m not sure that the song is any good, but it certainly is interesting.
Jonathan Bogart: The early-mid 90s R&B light swoop and bounce of the vocal rhythm is the most appealing thing going here, unless you’re specifically a Wonder Girls devotee. “Be My Baby” came pretty close to making me one; this isn’t hurting.
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