Now, this one’s interesting! Fanxy Red are an established C-pop group, re-debuting after spending some time training in Korea. I can’t remember this approach being used before — usually it’s Chinese K-pop idols leaving to perform in their (very lucrative) homeland. Fanxy Red are also known as a “girl boy group.” They all identify as female, but utilize more traditionally “male” styling as part of their concept. New ideas — and subversions of gender roles — are welcome anytime and anywhere. Sadly, their new single T.O.P isn’t nearly as exciting as everything else about them.
Despite being marketed as a K-pop track, T.O.P shares many of the hallmarks of Chinese idol releases. It’s not overly concerned with melody, and utilizes a bass-heavy instrumental that doesn’t offer much modulation. The group has a great rap line, stuffed with personality. I also love the sound of their vocals when layered together. We don’t often hear this lower tone when it comes to K-pop girl groups. It’s a nice mix of the traditionally feminine and masculine roles performers usually fill within this industry. If given the right song, I think Fanxy Red could really pop.
Unfortunately, T.O.P centers itself on a repetitive, throwaway hook that relies too heavily on the gurgling bass underlining it. This could have made for a fun pre-chorus, but the song needs a few moments when it cuts through the formula and absolutely explodes. The recycled trap beats and moody tone hold it back. As a whole, the production feels a little low-budget and unimaginative, which isn’t unusual for a smaller agency debut. Fanxy Red have piqued my interest, but I hope that they can pair their unique concept with equally unique music in the future.
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