It always cracks me up when a group’s press release proudly declares that they’ll be venturing into a new sound, only to have that sound turn out to be something that literally every other group has already adopted. Such is the case with 100%, who are the latest to (misguidedly) ditch producers Sweetune in favor of trendier options. Their new single Heart (맘) is tropical pop through and through, the likes of which we’ve heard countless times over the past few years.
This is all a recipe for disaster, but 100% manage to wring some individuality from this well-worn sound with their impressive vocal performance. I only wish that Heart’s meager melody gave them more to do. Its opening bars present a sigh-inducing mix of island-themed electronic percussion and unnecessary synth squiggles, offering the most generic instrumental imaginable. Heart’s first verse is pretty generic, too, culminating in a chant-like chorus that wastes the incredible potential in the guys’ vocals.
Yet, Heart improves as it goes on. Its second pre-chorus blows things open, with a dramatic arrangement that builds into a surprise bridge and sets the melody soaring — at least momentarily. From here, we get an added injection of vocal interplay that hints at the majestic track Heart could have been in the hands of different producers. This climax ends up to be more of a tease than a knockout, and that’s a shame. Given the right song, 100% can be nearly unstoppable. Heart just plays it too safe.