Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Rather than call All to Action ATEEZ’s first full-length album, I think it’s more accurate to consider it the final chapter in a series that began almost a year ago with Treasure Ep.1. The album is structured with this in mind. Its climax comes early, followed by an extended denouement that is surprisingly subdued by this group’s standards. As a standalone piece of work, I wish the album was more varied in sound. As a conclusion to the Treasure series, it’s much more satisfying.
I may be in the minority, but my favorite ATEEZ album is definitely this summer’s One to All. It feels like a bonafide greatest hits package. Much of All to Action attempts to replicate that album’s second half, with varying results. That’s what makes WIN stand out. Sandwiched right in the center of Action‘s eight full-length songs, it’s really the only other “dance” track beyond Wonderland. Better yet, it sounds unlike anything ATEEZ have recorded yet. Yes, it shares many of their musical hallmarks, but its almost-calypso drum beat is something new.
WIN’s frenzied percussion is its most beguiling element, followed closely by the exciting melody of its pre-chorus. The verses have an excellent sense of build, particularly as the intensity elevates during the second half of verse two. If I had my druthers, I would’ve preferred a more robust chorus, but the languid drop we get works reasonably well — at least where these kinds of musical approaches are concerned. That’s largely thanks to rapper Mingi, whose low tone has quickly become synonymous with the group’s sound.
Most importantly, WIN does something that all of my favorite ATEEZ songs do. It changes shape during its final moments, unveiling a furious blast of percussion and electronics that elevate the track to new levels just as you’d expect it to wind down.
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