When it comes to groups spawned by survival shows, it’s hard to predict what genre their music will take. More often than not, these projects simply cycle through whatever trends may be hot at the moment, with little regard towards building a cohesive discography. 1THE9 have already tackled downbeat r&b with the Crush-penned Domino, and now Spotlight sees them challenging Latin pop.
Think of Spotlight as the kiddie-version of NCT 127’s Regular, and you’ve got the basic idea of how the track sounds. It borrows from the same blend of hip-hop and brass, and is equally fixated on developing a faux sense of swag. To be fair to the guys, it’s awfully difficult to sound badass when you’re chanting “merry go merry go merry go merry go round.” The fact that Spotlight opens with this oft-repeated hook really sets the juvenile tone, and not in a great way.
This is a shame, because the vocal-led portions of the track aren’t half bad. While the chorus may open with that god-awful line, it quickly expands into something more substantial. The group blends well, without any obvious weak links. However, I’m surprised that 1THE9 is debuting with such a rap-heavy track. While watching Under Nineteen, I found the hip-hop team to be the least magnetic, and I wish Spotlight allowed the group’s vocalists more time to shine. In the end, this feels like K-pop at its most disposable. It’s perfectly fine as a bridge between better songs, but I don’t see myself returning to it often.
Under 19 has been my favorite Talent Show since Produce 101 Season 2, and I really hoped 1The9 could have an impressive start as a team after the remarkable performances in the finale episode.
What it actually happened instead is to grow up the 974th rookie group debuting this year without any charisma, any concept, any attitude and any music direction. How many mini albums will their discography be made of before disbanding? 2? 3?
I bet on a summer tropical track, a winter ballad track and then thank u, next.
Too bad, because they really would deserve so much better according to their proved talent.
Considering that – in a way – “Regular” by NCT 127 is already the kiddie version of “Regular” by NCT 127, I don’t know who thought this would be a good idea. That ascending/descending scale w/what, a raised third(?) after the “merry-go-round” chant is mildly ridiculous, as is literally everything else that’s happening here. I don’t think that the boys are incompetent or anything, but that songwriting is just… so many questions.
The arrangement has everything AND the kitchen sink in it. Tropical, with latin horns, tinkly piano, random rhythm changes to the chorus, and a reggae beat that interjects from time to time. Actually, I think this is like old school crazy kpop, albeit without an equally crazy improbable key change. The only way it would have worked is if an old school kpop producer produced it (like the SM genii behind I got a boy.) Otherwise, its just a hot mess.
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