VIXX has recently embarked on a push into Japan, and Depend On Me is their second original Japanese single. I thought the first, Can’t Say, was a catchy piece of pop and was happy with the general direction they were going, but Depend On Me does it one step better.
VIXX is well known for their dark, dramatic concepts, and this song and music video augments that image for the jpop market in convincing fashion. On first listen, the complexity of the arrangement is a little bewildering, but it’s a song that rewards repeat attention. Like Infinite’s Bad last year, the verses are all about rising, dramatic strings and a foreboding atmosphere. The production works extremely well here, with just a hint of dubstep in the thundering beats that doesn’t overwhelm the powerful vocals.
The chorus is equally strong, feeling like a cross between goth drama and 80’s stadium rock. It melds surprisingly well with the more aggressive verses, and the pop melody tempers some of the harshness surrounding it. The only aspect that feels shoehorned in is Ravi’s rap. I’ve had my personal qualms with Ravi’s performance style before, but that’s not the issue here. The rap sections are just placed at an odd point between verse and chorus, which does little more than break up the flow. One rap verse in the middle eight would have been enough for a track like this. Still, it doesn’t derail an otherwise spectacular track.