Monsta X have made a quick turnaround from last October’s Are You There, releasing another full album instead of a simple repackage. Back-to-back releases like this are exceedingly rare in K-pop, putting them right up there with the busiest of idol groups. As someone who usually prefers Monsta X b-sides to their title tracks, a new album is always welcome. We Are Here is heralded by the intense Alligator, and if you’re at all familiar with the group’s sound you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Alligator is another aggressive dance track, fusing the sonic bombast of Shoot Out with the staccato funk of Dramarama. It’s a well-calibrated middle ground, even if there are elements that keep the track from truly soaring. My least favorite aspect of Monsta X’s sound tends to be the over-the-top rapping (sorry, fans). Ninety-five percent of it is fine, but there’s inevitably an English-language moment so cringe-worthy that it takes me right out of the song. Shoot Out had “excuse me, I’m walkin’ like zombie,” but Alligator’s is even worse. I just can’t get behind “hello, I’m an alli-alligator,” delivered with ridiculous bluster at the start of verse two.
Other than this eye-rolling exclamation, Alligator is another solid single that’s right on brand for Monsta X. The synths are more prominent this time around, balancing the instrumental’s harder moments with a bit of dance floor pulse. The verses are uncluttered and restrained, giving spotlight to the group’s vocalists without devolving into the kind of moody mush so many boy groups fall into. The chorus feels a bit too simple and repetitive for its own good, but I like the breakneck pace of its delivery. There’s something very old-school K-pop about its mile-a-minute lyrical construction — hearkening back to the Yoo Young-Jin hook songs of the 2009-2011 era. An additional melodic element would have made this chorus really stand out, but the energy is strong either way. And with Monsta X, it’s all about energy. For better or worse, Alligator keeps that momentum going.
To me Hero and Beautiful will remain the biggest milestones in their discography, and I miss a bit those kind of instrumental riffs… Alligator is good, but they can do *so much* better than a pretty dose of turbulence. According to this, I would have promoted the more interesting (and somehow unexpected) Play It Cool with Steve Aoki as title track. Hidden treasure coming soon? 🙂
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I thought they should had promoted Their collaboration with Steve better, it came out of nowhere, it was a missed opportunity.
You guessed it!
Alligator is amazing, I think that Shoot Out is better, Alligator kinda feel to me like a mix of Dramarama and Shoot Out. I recently started to listen to their music since Shoot Out came out, and I have high expectations of their new album and come back, plus
their rocking the new styles.
I had the same thoughts about the song as you did: overall, a pretty solid comeback with good production and a good chorus, though one that could’ve done with a little more melodic heft. I think this is a step in the right direction away from the brash cacophony of Shoot Out. It’s more replayable, more streamlined, and has stronger hooks. I enjoyed the whole album, though I felt it could’ve been more effective as a mini instead (the midsection sags quite a bit, tracks 4-7 are pretty bland while 1-3 and 8-9 are much more memorable and effective). Some of my faves from the album are Ghost, Rodeo, and Stealer. I hope you choose one of those as your buried treasure!
That’s funny that you mention the middle of the album sagging for you. I’m the opposite. I think Play It Cool + No Reason + Give Me Dat is my favorite segment of the album.
I thought “Hello, I’m an Ali-Alligator” was one of the best bits though?! If music can’t make you smile…then what’s the point 🙂
I’m really enjoying this full album and title MV comeback from Monsta X. So many strong, fun tracks….Ghost, Play it Cool, Rodeo…the entire ‘We Are Here’ album really delivers. I’m continually impressed by this group’s growth.
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The problem is, it didn’t make me smile. It just feels so forced and obnoxious. But, we’ve all got different opinions. I much prefer some of the album tracks, so we can definitely agree on that!
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