Song Review: TVXQ – Hot Hot Hot

TVXQ have been busy in both Korea and Japan since both members were discharged from the military in mid-2017. But so far, nothing they’ve released has quite matched their pre-enlistment material in my opinion. Yunho’s recent solo album brought back some of those old-school TVXQ vibes to great success, and will hopefully act as a springboard for new eras to come.

Japanese single Hot Hot Hot doesn’t sound like the TVXQ we’re accustomed to, but it’s their most invigorating J-pop work in years. You’d have to go back to 2013’s Ocean or 2014’s Sweat to find a TVXQ track so relentlessly upbeat. Hot Hot Hot revels in its own cheesiness, offering a sturdy slab of anthemic disco pop. The track opens with chugging synth, building momentum from its very first moment. The verses are relatively reserved, but deliver an ascending melody that compliments the robust instrumental.

Hot Hot Hot’s chorus is widescreen, sing-along pop in the best way. It’s not complex or inventive, but sometimes all you need is a rousing, fist-in-the-air refrain. This kind of melodic sucker punch feels especially vital in the midst of a K-pop summer that seems intent on draining every last bit of joy from the industry. I love how Hot’s bombastic production goes for the jugular, bringing in punchy power pop guitar to give the chorus larger-than-life appeal. This unabashedly big sound used to be easy to find back when K-pop was taking its inspiration from western acts like One Direction and Lady Gaga, but in the age of minimalist trap beats and languid, autotuned vocals it’s become all too rare. Leave it to a beloved second-generation artist to bring it back — in Japan, at least. I only hope that Korea wakes up and takes notice.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75



3 thoughts on “Song Review: TVXQ – Hot Hot Hot

  1. This song is the aural version of dad jeans. Only a band of TVXQ’s stature could pull it off.
    For me, it is like being in the candy aisle in the Asian market, and picking up a package of gelee candy, with a cartoon image of Pororo on it, and Pororo is all smiles holding a tray of green disks, but the gelee is pink not green, so you don’t quite know what flavor it is going to be, other than not squid, but you do know that whatever it is, isn’t for you.
    This song isn’t for me.


    • “Dad jeans” made me laugh, mostly because you’re totally right. I still like the track despite (or maybe because?) of that. In a super serious summer it’s nice to have something relentlessly upbeat and completely cheesy.

      For what it’s worth, I find that the song works much better without the video, though the audio processing is really bad here — just like it was for the Road video last year. I’m eager to hear the iTunes version when it’s released.


  2. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of July 2019 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.