It didn’t receive nearly as much media attention, but 100% are currently in a similar situation as SHINee. They’ve also been reduced to a four-member group after the tragic loss of their leader Minwoo earlier this year, even if the exact circumstances may differ. Japanese single Summer Night is their first new music without him, but rather than mark the occasion with references towards their tragedy, the song is an upbeat, tropical-laced anthem.
It’s interesting to see how the tropical trend has evolved in both k-pop and j-pop. It feels like we’re beginning to hear a more club-friendly, uptempo iteration of the sound, and I’m all for that. Summer Night is ultimately pretty generic, but I’ve always been a sucker for soaring dance tracks like this. Its percolating electro beat guides the entire instrumental, assisted by driving percussion and a sense of constant build. No unnecessary trap breakdowns here, thank goodness.
In recent years, 100%’s music has placed a spotlight on their vocals, with members Rockhyun and Hyukjin impressing in this regard on KBS’s survival series The Unit. Summer Night works because of the force of their performance and the richness of their tones. Its sky-high chorus leaves no room for error, as the vocals soar without restraint. This is followed by a gorgeous layering of the group’s voices, which adds a bombastic harmony to the post-chorus hook. This is about as far as Summer Night pushes outside of the boundaries, and its familiar structure limits some of the song’s power. Still, I’d rather see the guys tackle a good old fashioned pop song like this than try to squeeze themselves into an unnecessarily cluttered arrangement.