K-Pop Group SONAMOO Embraces Latin Fusion With Latest Single, 'I (Knew It)'

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Sonamoo, "I Knew It"

SONAMOO is back with their latest single from their Happy Box Project, “I (Knew It).” Released alongside their single album, Happy Box Pt. 2 -- the second installment in the project’s three-part series -- the group experiments with an untapped concept.

The track opens on acoustic guitar strumming beneath electronic vocal layers, which revel in the catchy repetition of the word “I.”

Primarily a dance track, it infuses Spanish guitar and percussion built around Flamenco clapping that’s reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s “Gerudo Valley.” The song is the latest to tap into the Latin music trend that has been slowly bubbling up on the K-pop circuit, with recent singles like SF9’s “O Sole Mio.”

Reggaeton has become a fixture of K-pop in recent years -- but now different kinds of Latin fare are trickling into the K-pop soundscape, most likely in reaction to two things: South America’s increasing viability as a music market, and the sufeit of Spanish-language singles finding success on the Hot 100 this year. (The latter phenomenon of course coincides with K-pop's own uptick in American mainstream recognition and chart success.)

There’s sort of a goth-meets-femme-fatale vibe to the group's styling, which deviates from more cutesy previous concepts. The choreography borrows from flamenco elements as they clap along to the Latin percussion.

The song is co-written by members NewSun and D.ana alongside veteran composer e.one, who is behind epic-sounding singles like WJSN’s “Secret.”

Member Euijin isn’t able to participate in SONAMOO’s comeback, as she’s currently competing on the idol-rebooting survival show, The Unit, where she earned a coveted position as the female center -- meaning she’s in the center of the choreographic formations, which gives her more screen time.

It remains to be seen how this form of exposure will impact SONAMOO’s struggling status in the K-pop sphere -- but if Nu’Est’s recent success following the members’ appearance on Produce 101 (and Minhyun's participation in Wanna One) is any indication, participating in The Unit won’t hurt.

Watch the music video for “I (Knew It)” below.