Boy group VAV have flown under the radar so far, despite being quite prolific. They released a total of four singles in 2017, but hadn’t yet compiled them into an album until now. The group caught my ear when they started collaborating with producer Ryan Jhun, who composed a few of last year’s best k-pop songs. November’s She’s Mine was written without Jhun’s involvement, but he’s back for Spotlight (光).
So far, VAV’s output has been very solid, but always seems to lack that certain something that would push it over the edge. Spotlight follows that pattern by offering a catchy dance track hampered by a few small missteps. Its strongest (and most memorable) moment is the agile post-chorus hook, which plays with rhythm to addictive effect. In fact, the entire track has a nice groove. Jhun’s work has always been enamored with a strong, funky bassline, and Spotlight‘s instrumental is no exception.
The song’s chorus almost feels like a speedier take on She’s Mine, and it works better here thanks to the fluidity of its structure. The verses are less impressive — particularly the heavily auto-tuned second verse that opts for attitude over melody. I’ve never been a fan of these types of vocal effects, even if they’re used to purposefully create a mood. It interrupts the brightness of the chorus, which could have been spread more evenly across the entire track. But on the whole, there’s much to appreciate here, even if VAV still haven’t found that one big song to break them out of rookiedom.