Very few artists can get away with the sort of non-chorus hype track that I so often complain about in my reviews. Bigbang pulled it off with last year’s Bang Bang Bang, and BTS certainly did with the awesome Dope. Now, Bangtan is back with what feels like Dope‘s spiritual successor, in the form of Fire.
As BTS become increasingly more mature and melodic in their musical output, tracks like Fire remind us that they started life as a hip-hop group. I love that we can enjoy both sides of them now, and that even their party tracks have a sense of heightened musical maturity. Fire has little in the way of melody, but it’s the rare case where that doesn’t matter. This time around, it’s all about the beat. And instead of a flimsy, isolated sample, Fire‘s centerpiece hits like a semi truck. It’s an example of a song in this genre actually paying off on its build-up, particularly in its final moments, where the kick moves (thrillingly) to double time and the guys explode in a very Bigbang-esque chant. There are no moments where the track lags or the energy dips, and thank god for that.
Though the track is undoubtedly built around its sledgehammer instrumental hook, there’s some incredibly funky electronic elements underpinning the hip-hop verses, giving the song a slinky syncopation. The melodic bridge does a nice job offering a more blissed out counterpoint to the hard hitting chaos around it (and giving the vocal line something to do). I would, of course, love a more unique vocal hook in the chorus, but what’s here works just fine, even if it amounts to more of a catchphrase than an actual refrain. For a hype track, it’s got my hyped. And what more can you really ask for?