Monsta X have been incredibly prolific since their debut in 2015, returning with new music several times each year. And now that they’ve set their sights on the Japanese market, they’re busier than ever. Livin’ It Up is their third Japanese single in the space of only eight months, and their output is only improving with time.
Rather than reinvent their sound for international promotions, the guys have extended the vibe that’s made their Korean output so successful. Livin’ It Up is perched somewhere between the hard hitting hip-hop of their debut year and the dance floor influences of songs like Dramarama and Jealousy. A rugged rumble of distortion functions as the backbone of the instrumental, giving the track a lot of character right from the start. Contrasted by bright wisps of synth, the beat adds interest to what is otherwise a pretty standard Monsta X verse.
While Livin’ It Up’s set-up may be dark and sinuous, its chorus takes a poppier approach, offering an upbeat hook that builds to an irresistible, falsetto-led focal point. The melody is not as sweeping as Jealousy, but feels very much like a sunnier counterpoint to that song. I’ve always preferred when Monsta X injects a bit of funk into their sound, and this refrain definitely dips its feet into groovier territory. It’ll be interesting to hear how their Japanese work continues to develop, especially if they can maintain the upward trajectory their singles run suggests.