Photo: Courtesy of Gramophone Media

K-Pop’s CRAVITY Goes Bossa Nova in “GO GO”

K-pop’s CRAVITY talk with PopMatters about trying bossa nova for the first time and how “GO GO” fits the message of their first full-length album.

Part 1 [The Awakening: Written in the Stars]
STARSHIP Entertainment
19 August 2021

The first full-length album by K-pop group CRAVITY, Part 1 [The Awakening: Written in the Stars] (2021), is an explosion of energy and storytelling aimed at grandiose. With titles like “Gas Pedal”, “Veni Vidi Vici” and “Grand Pix”, the album is ambitious in concept and sound. Lyrics, set to strong electronic dance, are about the members of CRAVITY using their powers to find their fate.

Close to the album’s end, however, a different atmosphere sets in. The last track, “GO GO”, is opened by mellow vocals, and an accompanying guitar that induces a calmer mood. The contrast with the previous track is ear-catching, and the identification is automatic for Brazilian’s like me. It’s bossa nova.

In 2021, especially, Korean groups like TWICE and MONSTA X (CRAVITY’s label mates) have experimented with the genre. Even outside the K-pop and K-R&B world, bossa nova has been in sight for acts like Billie Eilish. But to CRAVITY, barely two years old as a group, a song like “GO GO” is a chance to show a different side of their music and vocal skills. “It’s our first time trying this style of music,” CRAVITY member Jungmo tells PopMatters.

“GO GO” combines the guitar pattern of bossa nova with trap beats, yet it is, as described by CRAVITY’s Woobin, a “minimalistic” track. Despite the hip-hop elements in its production, and even though the group usually features rap verses in their songs, “GO GO” has no raps. It’s entirely melody-driven and showcases an intimate, gorgeous vocal performance by CRAVITY.

“GO GO” is composed to convey a cozy feeling. Even though there’s a lot of variation in the verses’ melodies, they never overwhelm. The repetition of “go” across the song makes it catchy and easy to sing along. The bridge calls for even more intimacy, inviting listeners to sing “ah ah ah”. It’s that type of sweet, heartwarming song that suggests the creation of memories through music.

Not only is “GO GO” a new sound for the group, but it’s probably their softest song yet, or at least, their slowest since “Breathing“, from their second EP, Season 2. Hideout: The New Day We Step Into (2020). They’re a young group, though, so they are still forming their sonic identity. 

Asked if songs like “GO GO” complement their style (as their title tracks and music videos are often powerful dance songs, with agile melodies and choreographies), Serim answers positively, and Woobin says it was a challenging track. But CRAVITY is confident that they can do well in more than just one style. “We can handle any concept of the songs in our album,” Serim says, “we can also handle calm songs that have the opposite vibes of our title track.” Taeyong adds that calmer songs contribute to making CRAVITY albums near perfect.

As for the lyrics, according to member Jungmo, “GO GO” is a song for Luvity (the CRAVITY fanbase). “The lyrics are about the pandemic situation where we [CRAVITY and LUVITY] cannot meet each other in person,” Seongmin says. “Still, we’re always together in our hearts so that we can go anywhere.” 

“It can also mean that now all we have left to do is move forward,” Minhee adds. Regarding lyrics and sound, “GO GO” is a perfect closer to Part 1 [The Awakening: Written in the Stars]. 

After achieving intense victory and realizing our destiny, we conclude the album on a calmer, sweeter note, assuring listeners that ‘we could go anywhere’ we want as long as we’re together. I feel like it’s always great to end an album on a more mellow track as it gives a sense of completion…”

Allen of CRAVITY

Wonjin has hopes that “GO GO” will help listeners feel better. But will fans ever get to see the song performed live? It’s a yes for Hyeongjun. “We’re all ready at any time,” he says. “I can’t wait to sing ‘GO GO’ for our fans,” Wonjin says as well. The performance is worth waiting for, but until that day comes, the studio version of “GO GO” will have you hitting “replay”.