Despite releasing a steady stream of material since their debut in late 2016, Victon have never really connected with me. That’s not a critique of the guys themselves. I’ve just been pretty unimpressed with the producers and style they’ve been paired with. New single Time Of Sorrow (오월애 (俉月哀)) doesn’t do much to turn those feelings around, even though it points to a more mature, introspective side of their music.
Time Of Sorrow does everything it can to replicate the success of BTS’ Spring Day, down to its pensive melody and atmospheric soundscape. This is an odd move for Victon, who have thus far traded in more upbeat fare. The guys give a strong performance, but Spring Day’s formidable shadow looms large. I would have preferred a more unique instrumental palette, as the overly-familiar trap beats and tropical synth accents cast Sorrow as more of a follower than a pioneer. Still, the production feels suitably wistful — forever on the cusp of breaking into a full-on dance track but never losing its sense of chill.
Sorrow‘s languid melody also takes the subdued approach. Its verses unravel with palpable restraint, providing measured glimpses of emotion without ever trending towards the overwrought. This extends to the rapping, which is delivered with a softer energy than we find in most title tracks. It’s a nice opportunity to spotlight Victon’s voices, but fails to deliver the standout moment a group like this needs to break into the k-pop a-list.