The year of debuts rolls on, but not every rookie will hail from a huge agency with tons of pre-debut hype. For every ITZY or TXT, there will be dozens of new acts struggling for recognition. These groups often do not have the budget necessary for elaborate teasers or expensive music videos, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of attention. To paraphrase a popular Korean saying: sometimes it’s the smallest pepper that packs the greatest punch.
Unfortunately, this is not yet the case for new boy group Vanner. I applaud their ambition in debuting with a full album, and I appreciate the fact that they’ve stuck with a single producer for the entire thing. But, debut single Better Do Better (배로 두 배로) lives up to its name, drawing too heavily on outdated trends to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Better Do Better is an overload of tropical pop. Those infernal synth squiggles I complain about so frequently are omnipresent, so densely packed into the instrumental that it feels like a waking tropical nightmare. Without this incessantly trendy production, the song may have fared better. After all, the central chant/hook is quite catchy, and there are some nice vocal-driven moments throughout. The rap is less memorable, failing to showcase what makes this group compelling. I always go on about the importance of rookies establishing their own sound, and that couldn’t be more apt here. Nothing about Better Do Better feels new or forward-thinking, and it lacks a dynamite melody to compensate. Hopefully the group will get a little more adventurous in the future.