Quite frankly, Rainz’ new single is a mess. Cobbled together by no less than seven songwriters, Turn It Up lurches from one idea to the next without a lot of fluidity. But some of k-pop’s most enduring classics have a piecemeal, anything-goes appeal. So the question then becomes, is Turn It Up a successful mess, or just plain messy?
The answer, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. I was a huge fan of the group’s retro debut last year, and it’s a shame they didn’t stick with that sound (and those producers). Instead, it seems as if they wanted an opportunity to show off their choreography. Turn It Up is created for dance, incorporating a pair of instrumental breakdowns (one dubstep, one EDM/trap) that really interrupt the song’s flow. This tactic serves the music video well, but I’m not sure it’s as thrilling when listening to the music on its own.
Luckily, Turn It Up is also home to a strong chorus that acts as connective tissue and keeps the track from going completely off the rails. This is vital, as the song’s verses appear to have very little structure at all. The first acts as an extended build that effectively sets the mood. The second (if you can even call it a verse) is little more than errant scraps of melody acting as a bridge between chorus and breakdown. As with JBJ’s comeback last week, there’s a dynamite song in here somewhere — and we hear it in fits and starts. Thankfully, those pieces are thrilling enough for Turn It Up to work — but just barely.