Freshly debuted boy group MAP6 have done a complete 180, pulling away from the dark, post-apocalyptic pop of last year’s Storm in favor of the boisterous fun of Swagger Time (매력발산타임). Smartly, they’ve also been paired with a notable production/songwriting team in Duble Sidekick. There’s a reason certain producers’ names stand out in kpop. Duble Sidekick have an ear for hooks, even when they’re embedded in a fairly generic kpop arrangement.
Swagger Time incorporates trendy brass accents within its pop brew, but uses them as more of a rhythmic force than the song’s main focal point. And really, Swagger Time is all about rhythm. It’s certainly nothing we haven’t heard a million times before, but the beat has a palpable punch that doesn’t let up for a moment. It guarantees that the track’s energy remains high throughout, and in the post-EDM world of builds and drops, that’s kind of refreshing. Even though the verses and chorus focus more strongly on hip-hop than melody, it’s delivered with the kind of lighthearted, party atmosphere that places it firmly in the pop realm.
In many ways, I think this is the track that MAP6 should have debuted with. It feels more their style, and allows the guys to show off a bit of personality. Its only major drawback is that it fails to set them apart from any number of boy groups who have released very similar songs. Swagger Time directly recalls MyName’s too very so MUCH from last year, for example. But, it’s also a sound that is kind of evergreen, especially with an experienced team behind it.