Song Review: ATEEZ – Wave

I would not be surprised to see ATEEZ completely blow up over the next few years. They give me similar vibes to early BTS, both in sound and ambition. For their third mini album, the guys hosted a public vote between songs Illusion and Wave. Both would receive music videos, but only one would be the primary title track. Though each song sounded promising in its own way, I was firmly on team Wave during this process. From what ATEEZ had shared, it sounding more melodically and sonically rich than its competitor. Upon hearing the full track, I’m happy to say that my instincts were correct.

One of the things that impresses me most about ATEEZ is their ability to take musical approaches I usually hate and twist them into something incredibly galvanizing. Wave has two obstacles working against it. First, it’s a tropical pop track — a genre that has long since worn out its welcome within the Korean music scene. Second, its core hook is anchored by a noisy “hakuna matata” exclamation that would sound obnoxiously try-hard in the hands of so many other groups. Yet, Wave manages to convert both of these pitfalls into assets through the sheer force of ATEEZ’s impressive performance.

Wave’s opening verse is pure bliss, featuring a gorgeous, airy delivery that peaks into moments of unexpected falsetto. It’s a shame that this melodic turn doesn’t pop up again, but its brevity makes it all the more impactful. After a brief hip-hop focus, we move into a commanding pre-chorus that layers the guys’ vocals for an anthemic burst of stadium-ready pop. Wave’s main hook may appear gimmicky at first, but it’s bolstered by compelling vocal arrangement. ATEEZ thrive on vibe and attitude, but their vocalists are no joke. This is especially evident during the song’s stellar climax, where a perfectly-timed power note ushers in a rush of additional melody that ends things on a high. Wave could have easily become yet another dime-a-dozen tropical track, but it pulses with an unexpected power that elevates every second of its addictive brew.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


20 thoughts on “Song Review: ATEEZ – Wave

  1. Am I the only younger kpop fan who just can’t get into ATEEZ? I’ve listened to all their previous title tracks, and though I can appreciate the experimentalism I’ve found something off-putting in every one of them except Treasure (which I still don’t care much for). Say My Name was promising in the verses, but I absolutely cannot stand the “Say My Name” hook.

    Anyways, this song is fine. It’s pretty decent as far as tropical pop goes – that genre is a graveyard full of forgettable songs (*cough* Teen Top) – but I doubt I’ll ever revisit it.


    • Fair enough. As I mentioned in the review, they really don’t trade in the kinds of sounds I usually go for. But, there’s something about their music that’s just so impactful. It’s a vibe I’ve missed in K-pop, and I’m really excited to see where they’ll go next.


  2. It sounds like the Ateez sound doing tropical summer.
    I don’t know quite yet if I like it or love. I dont think I am feeling summer yet personally.
    I know it is missing the snappy dance, which is another of their hallmarks.


    • I posted this on twitter and nobody seemed to care, so I’ll reiterate here:

      Does anyone else half-expect the pre-chorus to morph into Toto’s Africa mid-way through? Once I heard it, I can’t un-hear it… and I kind of love it.


      • With enough libations, sure.
        But I hear more Shakira than anything else. Your hips don’t lie, I see you moving, tell me do you .. oh wait that … that isn’t it.
        Actually Shakira singing the hakuna matata part in this song would be a great improvement.

        This is my Toto “Africa” story. Many years ago, I went to my brother’s MBA graduation. For some reason, the business school had an acapella group as a club. For some reason they sung Toto “Africa” at the graduation ceremony.
        (Also, somehow the youtube video has 500m views, who knew?)


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