With Tattoo, The Boyz have made an odd move. The song is targeted at the Japanese market, yet 99% of it is performed in the Korean language. I’m not complaining – especially since I think pop music is best when delivered in its native tongue – but this is a mystifying approach, and one I can’t remember seeing before. Yet, as an English speaker, the difference between Korean and Japanese is moot. I have my preferences, but it’s not like I can understand either language. As always, I’m more concerned with Tattoo’s musical quality. So, is the song any good?
Fans of angst-fueled material might find something to enjoy here, but for me Tattoo is The Boyz’ worst title track by a clear mile. Its aggressive, shouty arrangement forces the guys into an awkward performance style that seeks to replicate popular elements of acts like Stray Kids. It’s an uncomfortable fit, and doesn’t play to the group’s strengths. Then again, some of The Boyz’ supporters may have been clamoring for Tattoo’s hard-hitting, swag-filled rap breaks. More power to them, I guess.
Beyond this, Tattoo’s most glaring moment is its chorus. The first time through, it lands alright. The vocals are powerful and the performance is explosive. But with each repetition, this refrain becomes more shrill and cloying. By the end of the song, I’m gritting my teeth, hoping that Tattoo won’t clobber me over the head once more with that same relentless hook. But of course, it does. The instrumental’s lurching synths don’t help matters, relegating the track’s energy to a stop/start structure that never allows Tattoo to build beyond its constant repetitions of that whiny chorus. Fortunately, the song’s Korean/Japanese/No-Man’s-Land nature makes it something I can easily ignore. The Boyz have too many other strong title tracks to waste time on this.
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