Give me a K or J-pop song with the title “Chaser” and I’ll instantly be triggered. I’ve written at length about how I consider Infinite’s The Chaser to be the best K-pop song of all time. It’s so outstanding that they might as well retire the word “chaser” from the K-pop lexicon entirely. But here we have UP10TION, challenging the honor of best Chaser with their new Japanese single. It’s a battle in which they’re sorely outmatched.
Kidding or not, I’m sure UP10TION didn’t have Infinite in mind when they were recording Chaser. The song is cut from a completely different cloth, conforming to elements of the current tropical and EDM trends for a very generic result. All of UP10TION’s Japanese material thus far has been solid, but very little of it has been memorable. Chaser is perhaps the most forgettable of all, stringing together sounds we’ve heard countless times before without the needed individuality to make them stand out.
Chaser is one of those dance tracks that doesn’t feel particularly danceable, pulsing with a midtempo beat that never really kicks into gear. Its verses are underlined by tropical synth and feel like they exist entirely as set-up to something grander. After a typical boy group build, the chorus hits with a slightly sped-up dose of jagged Chainsmokers-esque synths. These well-worn tropes would be easier to overlook if Chaser’s melody did anything interesting. But honestly, there’s not really much melody here at all. The vocals are phrased in a way that sounds more like speech than singing, creating a track that feels more like a performance piece than an actual song.