Review

Song Review: Infinite – Tell Me

As a long-time (some might say obsessive) fan of Infinite, Tell Me is not the kind of song I wanted from their return. The group has been inactive since September of 2016 — the longest they’ve ever gone between comebacks. And with all the anticipation built up from that absence (and the fact that this is their first album as six), I wanted nothing more than for them to throw down the gauntlet with a track as enormous as the best material in their discography. But as each teaser seemed to indicate more and more tropical house and EDM elements woven into the song’s tapestry, my expectations began to plunge.

Composed by BLSSD, Tell Me steers Infinite toward much trendier territory. BLSSD is one half of production team Rphabet, who have crafted every one of the group’s Korean title tracks since 2014’s Back. And as much as Tell Me explores new stylistic tones, its overall atmosphere is very much in keeping with their work for the group. The difference here comes down to the song’s energy level and impact. Rather than hit you over the head with orchestral swells or sledgehammer beat drops, Tell Me unfolds like a synth-drenched fever dream — seeming almost to move in slow-motion. Its tropical elements are (thankfully) buried in a mix that’s brimming with chopped vocal samples, complex percussive shifts and inventive harmonies. Though the arrangement could certainly use a bit more punch (or a climax of some sort), the lush synth soundscape that underlines the chorus is an absolute winner.

Tell Me actually sounds more like something I might have expected from a solo Sungkyu comeback rather than from the group as a whole. Given this, it’s no surprise that his vocals easily become the star of the show. Gone is the high-pitched register that The Eye demanded, replaced with a much more comfortable tone that lends the song needed character. It helps that Tell Me’s hook feels stronger than any of their title tracks since Back. It’s not immediately compelling, but the repetitive melodic structure (coupled with that killer pre-chorus) grows into a sticky bit of can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head songcraft. This is where skilled vocalists, with incredibly idiosyncratic tones, can elevate what might otherwise feel generic. Tell Me may borrow heavily from some of my least favorite trends of 2017, but if any group can twist them into something worth hearing, it’s Infinite.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

~

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Song Review: Infinite – Tell Me

  1. This is really as good as a song can be when you have trop house, glitch r&b, AND a trap breakdown. They did well by pushing that all to the way back of the mix. There are still stronger songs on the album though (Synchronize and Pray especially). Will you be reviewing the rest of the b-sides?

    Like

    • I *think* I’m going to review each track like I did with their last album, but not for a couple of days yet. It still needs some time to settle. Right now, though, I think Pray and Break are amazing, with the latter being exactly the old school sound I was wanting from Infinite.

      Like

  2. From their interviews, they stated that at first they wanted to go with either Synchronize or I Hate as the title track. What do you think about it?

    Like

    • I like Synchronize a lot, but I’m not sure how it would have worked as a title track. Same with I Hate.

      Personally, I would have liked to see a song like Break as the title track. I can see why they decided to go with Tell Me, though.

      Like

  3. It looks like I’m the only previous massive fan of INFINITE who got 100% disappointed by Tell Me (and the whole Top Seed album). I know it’s a question of taste, mindset, mood and/or expectations, and of course it’s an individual feeling, but *imho* this concept has no light at all.
    Tell Me is an anonymous attempt to follow the wave you could accept from a rookie group in search of awareness, but not from one of the major acts in KPop History. At the moment, the MV on YouTube reached 1.3MLN views, while Stray Kids’ Grrr reached 1.2MLN: would you seriously consider a good result 100K views less than a pre-debut track when you force a group to play tropical EDM just because “it’s oh so cool”?

    Moreover, I noticed that L doesn’t smile in *any* of the official pictures Woollim published on Instagram (for example), and the other guys look much more bored than involved while they’re performing the new songs on stage.
    To me there’s something that really doesn’t work in this comeback. There’s overproduction and there’s – and there will be – overpromotion, but the good, old INFINITE dna was definitely something else.

    (Sorry for the length of this comment, but I do really love your reviews and your way to argue your opinions – even when I don’t agree, as in this circumstance – and I tried to do the same.)

    Like

    • No need to apologize! Your opinion is totally valid and I love hearing it.

      To be honest, my thoughts would have probably been much more negative had I not adjusted my expectations based on the teasers. Like I’ve said, this will never be my favorite Infinite comeback and I really hope this particular sound ends up being a one-off. But, I think they did a decent job with the genre.

      That said, they are about two years overdue for a lighter concept. They don’t always have to be brooding. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an early Spring repackage with a title track by Sweetune or Iggy/Youngbae or some other producer who can harness their ligher, poppier sound. If Tell Me was created to appeal to the general public, I think following it up with a song for the hardcore fans would be smart.

      Just curious… how do you like Break and Prayer from the album? To me, they both sound like classic Infinite and prove that they haven’t completely abandoned their old sound.

      Like

    • I’m one of those huge fans of infinite and i have entered this kpop world with them and they’ve been my favorite group since but who got 100% disappointed by this comeback and the whole album…the wait was so long and woolim kept saying they’ll have a comeback since infinite rally 3 fan meeting where they released a teaser saying the comeback will be in May if you remember and we ended up having it in January so the expectations were high and I really wanted something like Back or Bad that would make me listen to it 100000 times but when I listened to the song it was nothing special not saying it’s bad just not infinite’s style.I agree with every bit of your comment friend.

      Like

  4. I was disappointed in this title track, but I suspect that’s because I’ve never really been properly acquainted with their light poppy side. It’s not a bad song at all – very well-produced, stellar vocals as usual – but I was hoping for a spiritual successor to Back/The Eye. Fingers crossed for my hopes to be fulfilled on their next comeback (which I selfishly hope is sometime this year, Woollim needs to make them come back more regularly after that ridiculously long hiatus.)

    Like

  5. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Synchronise | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – No More | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – TGIF (Dongwoo solo) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  8. Pingback: ‘Regret’ Deconstructed In Infinite’s “Tell Me” | Kpopcast

  9. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Pray | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  10. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Why Me | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  11. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Wind | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  12. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – I Hate | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  13. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Reminisce (L solo) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  14. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Love Song (Sungjong solo) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  15. Pingback: INFINITE TOP SEED: In-Depth Album Review – Begin Again | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s