How can a song featuring so many esteemed and exciting artists end up being so dull? In theory, Born To Be Wild should be a momentous hodgepodge of cross-agency collaboration, but it’s ultimately just as messy as its parentheses-filled title.
I applaud SM for reaching out to artists and producers from competing agencies. I have no idea how they managed to rope JYP himself into featuring on one of their tracks, let alone co-composing it. Unfortunately it’s not one of his better works. On paper, Born To Be Wild sounds like everything you’d want in a dance track, spotlighting some of the most beloved idols in the business. But the song is a complete mess, lacking focus and melody in favor of an overly familiar beat and a loose structure that constantly morphs in unnecessary directions. Pushing off with a heavy hip-hop kick, the production sounds quite similar to BTS’s far superior Fire. Once it’s time for the chorus (and I hesitate calling the song’s cast off catchphrases a “chorus”), we get the kind of unpleasant electronic noodling that has destroyed many a pop song before.
It’s just not particularly enjoyable to listen to, and it’s a real shame because these performers could have given us something spectacular. JYP is relegated to verging-on-desperate hype man, Jo Kwon aims for fierce but gets buried in the mix, and Hyoyeon and Min do their best to keep this mediocre material afloat. It’s all a lot of sound and fury, going nowhere. I could see the song being effective as a soundtrack to a dance crew performance, but on its own there’s just not enough to grab onto.