Originally debuting in 2010, Teen Top was known for their light, uptempo tracks (usually produced by Brave Brothers) that fit their name and image well. Since 2014, they’ve taken a more mature shift in sound, and though their excellent, underrated Natural Born mini album last summer marked a brief return to that fun vibe, Warning Sign pulls them back into darker, more serious territory. It works, but I wish they’d have come back with a stronger song to showcase this image.
I’ve heard others compare Warning Sign to a VIXX track, but I actually think it sounds more like Boys Republic’s The Real One from a couple years ago, especially that springy synth beat that pops up just before the chorus. The vocals are also on point. I love the quick interplay between falsetto and chest voice in the verses. It gives the illusion of a loose, almost freestyle vibe in what’s actually a very structured pop song. I’m not sure the haunted house synth in the chorus is quite as successful. It makes the song sound like Halloween, and I don’t think that’s what they were going for. Maybe that’s where the VIXX comparisons are coming from.
The song’s biggest challenge is the chorus, which unfortunately doesn’t stick as much as it should. After several listens, it’s been hard to recall the melody of the hook when not listening directly to the song. It’s not that the chorus is unenjoyable… it’s just not particularly memorable. This is a bit surprising, given the strength of their back catalog. Then again, I kind of thought the same of their 2014 single Missing and Niel’s solo debut Lovekiller when they were released, and I ended up loving both of those songs. Maybe Warning Sign will be a bit of a grower.