While Boyfriend have released a string of solid singles for the Japanese market during the past two years, they’ve been criminally ignored in their native Korea. Beyond a non-promoted anniversary song, we haven’t heard from the guys since March of 2015. And that’s a shame. Boyfriend has one of the strongest, most consistent discographies out there, but I don’t think their fan base is large enough to sustain a twenty-eight month absence. And as refined and “mature” as new single Star is, I doubt it will be the song to reignite their dormant career.
I put “mature” in quotation marks because I often take issue with the word. So many times, it seems like these so-called mature comebacks result in songs stripped of their sense of dynamism and melody. It makes me wonder if a colorful, singalong pop melody is, by its very nature, considered childish or unsophisticated. Whatever the case, Star could have done with a few of these qualities. Even as its moody first verse revs up to the chorus’s eventual beat drop, the song is stuck in a mid-tempo slump that keeps the energy subdued throughout.
That’s not to say that every decent k-pop single needs to be high energy, but if you’re operating at such a downbeat pace, the melody or vocals need to compensate with some element that captures attention. Star‘s emotive chorus almost gets there, but in the end feels too one note and repetitive to leave any lasting mark. Boyfriend’s performance pushes at the edges, but the guys are never given a chance to explode with the kind of passion a song like this requires.