Of all the scheduled kpop releases this March, GOT7’s Fly was by far the one I was most looking forward to. The group had an incredible 2015, releasing two of the year’s best singles and finally cementing a versatile, melodic hip-hop sound for themselves. I expected Fly to be the capper on that success, sending them into the big leagues where they belong. Funny thing about expectations, though. They’re often a song’s worst enemy.
The best thing I can say about Fly is that it offers a showcase for the group’s rap line, more so than any single since their debut. The worst, is that the song recalls the bulk of the group’s Japanese material: haphazardly thrown together and keen to smother any melody with cluttered trap production. The truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s not a bad song, but its production feels undercooked and all over the place. The opening ad-libs are particularly messy, pitched low and oddly mixed. It’s like vertigo for a moment before the verses kick in.
Once they do, the tempo changes frequently, which is a personal pet peeve of mine so it’s hard to be very objective when critiquing it. But because of this see-saw approach, the track never enjoys momentum for long. For a song called Fly, it’s grounded far too often. The smooth, 90’s-throwback hook is somewhat effective, but barely there. It almost feels as if the actual chorus was removed, leaving only the background vocals and harmonies. It’s a testament to the members that this skeletal of a song is enjoyable at all. If it had been performed by a lesser group, I’d surely be skipping it. Still, I get the sense that this was chosen as their title track due to its concept, rather than the song’s actual merit. Oh, well. Their upcoming second title track, Home Run, sounds more like a return to form, if the album sampler is anything to go by. Fingers crossed, because this is their first Korean comeback that hasn’t totally wowed me.