Debuting an idol group in the month of December is an interesting choice. On one hand, the whole k-pop industry seems to slow to a crawl this time of year, meaning that there just aren’t as many eyes attuned to new releases. But on the plus side, a debut has a better chance of standing out without having to contend with a lot of competition. New group The Boyz comes pre-loaded with hype from their own web variety show and Produce 101, among other stints on survival-type series. And like most rookie groups, they seem to be overflowing with potential. Despite its strengths, I’m not sure that Boy (소년) displays those skills in the most effective way.
As idol groups grow bigger and bigger (there are a whopping twelve “Boyz” present here), songs must squeeze in an insane amount of parts to ensure that each member has something to do. At its best, this requirement can result in inventive song structures and diverse musical textures. But more often than not, it only bloats a track that would otherwise benefit from a more streamlined approach. Boy‘s sound is relatively straightforward, but there’s so much going on in the melody that it begins to feel unnecessarily messy.
The production is clean and crisp, even if I wish the instrumental would have completely jettisoned those omnipresent, vaguely tropical synth chirps. And even though it’s an overused trend, I don’t mind the deep house influence at all. But while many of its elements are enticing, the song suffers from a lack of melodic focus. The verses are jam-packed with lines, but nary a hook to be found. Members’ voices filter in and out, never sticking around long enough to make much of an impression. The chorus is more straightforward and impactful, anchoring the song when it needs it most and providing convincing evidence of the dynamite pop track hiding just beneath the surface.