While I enjoyed Monsta X’s title tracks last year (particularly Hero), I always felt that they were spending too much time trying to be “hard” instead of focusing on the more interesting aspects of their music. Songs like Trespass seemed more self-serious than playful, which stopped me from really getting on board. All In definitely retains much of this sound, but feels more musically ambitious.
The song kicks off with warped electronic blasts and a clattering beat that will be familiar to anyone who’s heard Bigbang’s Bang Bang Bang or really any k-pop hip hop track of this nature. It’s not a particularly promising introduction, nor is it remotely original. But, All In quickly becomes something different. In its own way, it’s Monsta X’s most melodic title track yet. Beneath all those boisterous production trappings lies a surprisingly beautiful hook. It takes a few listens to completely shine, but offers a nice contrast to the harder-edged verses. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this emotive melody was inspired by BTS and their success with songs like I Need U and Run. Whether that’s the case or not, it does give All In more heft than any of Monsta X’s singles up to now.
As a kickoff to what promises to be a multi-part album release campaign, the song is paired with a big-budget, provocatively obscure music video. All In itself doesn’t feel quite as big as the images that are paired with it, but it goes far enough in building on Monsta X’s sound to feel like a natural (and needed) progression. I’m honestly not sure how it’ll do on the charts, as it doesn’t have the kind of instantly catchy hooks most listeners would expect, but it has me interested in seeing what comes next.