Despite Infinite being far and away my favorite k-pop group, I’m always a little hesitant when approaching their Japanese releases. Unlike the consistent quality of their Korean output, their j-pop material involves work with a more diverse collection of composers, resulting in a hodgepodge of different sounds. Luckily, D.N.A sees them trying on a punchy dance-pop sound that fits perfectly.
First off, D.N.A is flawlessly produced. It has a synthesized video-game rock sound that will undoubtedly connect well with the Japanese market, but its real strength lies in the details. The verses are broken up beautifully, punctuated with stabs of background vocals and symphonic flourishes that keeps things interesting and dynamic throughout. And while I wish that the chorus had just a little more meat on its bones (maybe an extra post-chorus refrain?), you can’t argue with the sledgehammer strength it possesses when its staccato delivery clobbers you over the head. As usual, Sungkyu and Woohyun take the lead here, matching the track’s energy with reliably strong vocals. It’s the type of hook that could have easily felt shoehorned in, and I’m surprised at how seamlessly it flows from the verses.
I do feel like D.N.A is missing a strong dance breakdown somewhere during its second half, but the slowed, melodic middle eight is almost as effective. More than anything, I’m glad to see the guys tackle this uptempo dance sound again after two slower Japanese offerings. It may not be the full-fledged Korean comeback that I am (im)patiently waiting for, but it more than holds its own as yet another outstanding entry in their already impressive singles run.