1TEAM are yet another 2019 debut group, hailing this time from Liveworks Entertainment. Some of its members will already be familiar to fans, as they participated in both BOYS24 and MIXNINE. Neither of those programs spawned the kind of sensation that Produce 101 does, so it’s gratifying to see an official debut for the guys. It’s a shame, then, that their song Vibe (습관적 VIBE) is so underwhelming.
Vibe kicks off with one of my least favorite sounds in modern K-pop. It’s this xylophone-esque percussive loop, and I find its ‘plink plink’ pattern incredibly irritating. It seems to be a go-to sample for chill boy group hip-hop, and its overuse has caused too many of these songs to feel exactly the same. When it comes to debuts, I think it’s important to quickly establish a group’s signature sound. There are too many idols in the industry right now to simply coast on already-established trends. Vibe may showcase 1TEAM’s skills, but it never brings anything new to the conversation.
Instead, the song bops along with subdued — even lethargic — energy. The bulk is performed in a sing-song style that feels noncommittal and uninspiring. Its lack of ambition doesn’t do the members any favors. The chorus doesn’t bring much more to the experience, but its repetitive nature offers a welcome dose of catchiness. In so many ways, “Vibe” is the perfect title for this. The song could easily be thrown on in the back of a party or in the car when you’re driving with friends. It’s head-bobbing background music, so set your expectations accordingly.