Song Review: SF9 – RPM

SF9 have always struck me as the quintessential, generic boy group. Talented, yes, but without a defining style or concept that would make them memorable. Their singles tend to feel like the kind of grab bag fare doled out on survival shows like Produce 101. You get the sense that any K-pop group could tackle them without the end result changing much. This diversity in sound makes for a scattershot discography. For every O Sole Mio, there’s an Enough. New single RPM shifts things up once again, but winds up as fairly forgettable.

Rather than opt for bright summer styles, RPM finds SF9 in darker territory. The opening verse resounds with militaristic percussion and some great guitar, and the song continues to satisfy during a harmonic pre-chorus that spotlights the group’s vocals. Unfortunately, RPM then launches into one of the ugliest instrumental drops I’ve heard all year. For a moment, this segment seems to take the place of an actual chorus, but the guys quickly return with a so-so refrain to tie everything together.

As happy as I am to hear an actual melody, it’s still tied too strongly to the lumbering drop that precedes it. Like so much of the group’s material, the chorus is not awful. It’s just cripplingly generic. With a title like RPM, I really hoped that the track would bring a new, exciting energy. Instead, we’re kept at a lurching tempo all the way through, chugging from one moment to the next without much charm. This corner of the K-pop market is already well-covered by groups like Monsta X, so I’m not sure why SF9 didn’t opt for something more unique.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25



9 thoughts on “Song Review: SF9 – RPM

  1. I share similar feelings when it comes to SF9, but I don’t find all their songs as forgettable as you seem to. Easy Love is easily one of my all time favorite songs; their debut song was great and Now or Never was good, too. The only thing that always puts me off is that they always follow their stronger title tracks with bland songs (Enough hum hum)

    I did not know what to expect for this comeback, as always, but I can say I am REALLY on board with this comeback. I knew you wouldn’t like it as soon as the beat drop came, which I actually hated at first. Nothing seems that memorable if you take each part individually but the truth is, I love it. It gets better the more I listen to it.

    I think the concept might be influencing my opinion a little bit (I found the MV captivating), but overall, I think it was a powerful comeback, and I also feel like this is an underrated opinion.


  2. This track does suffer a bit. I wanted the song to be Kpop version of The Weeknd’s Starboy. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t call SF9 a generic boy band, they seem to have found their sound in this album.

    RPM has two other title-track worthy bops: Dreamer and See U Tomorrow and I wondered why FNC wouldn’t choose either one of them as title track. The arrangement and the energy from the two songs is just amazing.


  3. This can definitely be one of the worst title tracks of the year. If it wouldn’t be for the expensive allure of the MV, it could easily be a mixtape by Noir.


  4. Its OK. Basic current kpop.

    The part that irritates me is that it is another example of the Important Word song. By intoning the word “RPM” and make it a grandiose intonation, suddenly that act imbues the whole song with Deep Meaning, usually followed by a Loud Sound Drop and Impressive Choreography.
    There were a whole pile of Important Word songs last year by middle tier boy groups, and this one is the latest example.


  5. Pingback: KCON LA 2019 – Recap & Review | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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