Even with all its quirks and innovations, I consider myself to have a very solid understanding of the k-pop landscape. NCT’s ever-evolving configuration? Easy. LOONA’s year-long debut process? Not a problem. But the whole BOYS24 project is still a bit of a head-scratcher. This is despite watching (and enjoying) the entire competition series that launched the group. Except… it didn’t really launch the group. In fact, it’s been almost a year and the final line-up has yet to be decided. Instead, the boys have been holding concerts at performance halls, and occasionally these shows determine new units who get to promote music. It all seems ridiculously complicated and drawn-out, and I’m afraid that when the actual group is decided, nobody’s going to remember why they liked these guys in the first place.
After last November’s E (performed by what was then known as BOYS24’s “Unit Yellow”), a new configuration has been chosen to promote Steal Your Heart (뺏겠어). With all the complexity surrounding the project, you might expect the song to feel just as boundary-pushing. But unfortunately, Heart is a very generic 2017 offering. There’s a hint of the tropical house and moombahton trends in the instrumental’s percolating beat, augmented with more aggressive turns as the track shifts between its smooth chorus and hip-hop influenced verses.
While there’s nothing glaringly unpleasant about these over-used elements, the song lacks a strong hook to offset their familiarity. Without a dynamite chorus to act as an anchor, Heart feels like little more than a mash-up of popular boy group tropes. A sense of climax or crescendo is much needed, and might have helped elevate the track from its workmanlike status. It’s clear that these guys have the necessary talent, and every moment is produced well, but as a whole the song definitely underwhelms.