Though not often mentioned alongside k-pop’s most prominent breakout acts, UP10TION have quietly sold an impressive amount of albums, positioning them as one of the most successful rookie groups of the moment. That success looks to be replicated as they make their debut in Japan. J-pop efforts from Korean groups can be very hit and miss, at times sticking with the act’s trademark sound but just as often jettisoning it completely.
ID strikes a nice middle ground, offering a new approach for UP10TION without moving completely outside their wheelhouse. It’s a strange introduction for the group in the sense that it lacks much of the bombast you might expect from the debut of such a large group. Instead, ID creeps forward on an ominous percolation of bass and dulled stomp of percussion. Everything, from the melody to production, keeps a uniform energy throughout. Even the chorus feels restrained, as if the vocals want to soar but are held captive by the track’s lockstep structure.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though I’m not sure how well it suits a group as dynamic as UP10TION. The song does an excellent job sustaining its sense of gritty, claustrophobic allure. The vocal arrangement uses much more intrusive effects than we’re used to from the group, warping their voices to create a sort of dreamlike, post-apocalyptic appeal that matches well with the militant instrumental. I’m not sure about the oft-repeated “dirty little freaks” refrain, which gives the song a sexualized connotation that may or may not have been intentional. At the very least, it’s certainly a memorable hook!