Song Review: Monsta X – Shoot Out

Any issues I’ve had with Monsta X’s sound are laid bare during Underwater, the opening track on their new album. You’ve got this gorgeous melody, impeccably performed and carefully arranged. But then the track shifts to incorporate the group’s rappers, resulting in the jarring inclusion of noisy, clattertrap synths and overly-aggressive hip-hop. This kind of blustering delivery seems like a clumsy way to represent power and — assumably — masculinity. The group is at their best when they resist the urge to go loud, pushing at the seams of their tough, brooding image. Recent singles Dramarama and Jealousy saw them heading in a more musically diverse direction, and they were all the stronger for it. As you might expect from its eye-raising title, Shoot Out brings us right back to the noise.

To be fair, this style is what many love about Monsta X. And unlike Underwater, the song is pretty single-minded in its intentions. Shoot Out has the raucous energy of a heavy metal track, filtered through K-pop’s dance-and-hip-hop lens. And after the double dose of laughably over-the-top rap that opens the track, things do feel pretty cohesive.

Driven by hard-edged synths, Shoot Out’s instrumental is an assaultive beast, barely letting up as the cocking of guns joins the fray. If “music to smash things to” was a genre, this would be right at the top of the playlist. I only wish Shoot Out’s melody (what little there is) was as bombastic as the sound effects swirling around it. The chorus is mostly just a repetition of the song’s title, thundering forward with layered vocals and a monotone arrangement. A dynamite hook would have elevated the track and given needed balance to the overwrought rap verses. Luckily, the rest of the album is flush with solid, genre-blurring material. Many of these songs would have made superior title tracks, but I guess you can’t blame Monsta X for sticking with the tried and true.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7


6 thoughts on “Song Review: Monsta X – Shoot Out

  1. The kind of faux-bluster that comes with a lot of k-pop boy group rappers really is starting to get off-putting. From this review, I was expecting a lot more noise though. You can’t just say “heavy metal” like that to a big heavy metal fan,, I wanted guitars and bpm not brrrrahhhhhh blah blah blah block block block


    • I don’t like to criticize individual performers (especially when taste is so subjective), but I’m so tired of the histrionic style Jooheon and IM always seem to adopt for Monsta X’s title tracks — especially when it seems at odds with the song’s general vibe.

      Their album tracks prove that they are far more versatile than the titles have let on.


      • I know that this is an old review and old comment, but I completely agree with your phrasing of histrionic style for Jooheon and IM’s raps. Let me just start of by saying I love them both and Jooheon is my bias in the group, but there have been songs where I just felt like would’ve been better off without the rap part or even just a toned down a bit. I think for title tracks and actually a lot of their songs, they’ve gotten so used to rapping in their respective “styles” that it’s hard for them to hear it in the song and think that it sounds off-putting. That being said, I still like a lot of their songs, and I really like them as a group, so it doesn’t really bother me as much anymore.


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