Song Review: The Boyz – Tattoo

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.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 6
 Bias 6

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!



8 thoughts on “Song Review: The Boyz – Tattoo

  1. Yowch, I wasn’t expecting such a harsh review on this one. I can see why you dislike it though—the song really is just way too repetitive. Luckily I like the chorus quite a bit (more than many of their other choruses, even) so it’s enough to keep me listening even if there’s not a whole lot else here.


  2. I actually disagree with how low you rated the song, even though I agree that it is their worst title track. I think “Tattoo” is a strong track on its own, and I especially like how their rap line went hard on the track. I do wish that the chorus was a bit less overwhelming, and that they didn’t repeat the chorus at the end.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mood. i actually grew to really like bloom bloom and ddd after repeated listens despite how shrill they are but i doubt im gonna grow to like this one
    i still consider them one of the more consistent boy groups of the last few years tho, at least in terms of title tracks

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the same group that gave us Giddy giddy up and bloom bloom pow? Wow, their management must have thought they needed to pivot to …. this? This is basic kpop to me. I don’t know if it is a 6, but it isn’t higher than a low 7.

    About your comment on language. I agree, it is all a foreign language to me so who really cares if it is in Korean Japanese or Chinese. But imho Korean is much more mellifluous among the three as it has all the round vowels and soft consonants. It is similar to how opera sounds best in Italian, because of the round vowels and ending consonants. Italian nearly always ends on a vowel, so there is always a vowel to sustain. And when it doesn’t it is a soft consonant which is easy to close cleanly, much the same as korean. Korean conveniently buries all the harder consonants at the beginning or middle of words.

    Japanese to me resembles opera in French where the vowels are held higher in the throat, so the aren’t as deeply rounded. It sounds higher even though it isn’t. There is also a surprising amount of “kh” sounds to interrupt every line, and harder breathier t’s.

    Finally, Chinese is like German opera. So many challenging consonants! All those sh ch ts zh sounds! It makes the songs naturally more percussive and less sonorous.

    My main man Kyuhyun has sang “At Gwanghwamun” in all three. I don’t know how to copy here the links without the giant youtube windows, so if you are interested go search. Japanese version is found on his One Voice solo album still pic video. Chinese in album and lyric versions, and a couple of live ones too. Korean version is everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Both The Boyz and Golden Child are going for a dark concept now, which makes me a bit sad since I started loving them for their fun, upbeat concepts. I trust Golcha to pull the concept switch off better than The Boyz, though. Or at least I hope they will, because this song does absolutely nothing for me. I love The Boyz, but I wholeheartedly agree with your rating here.


    • At this point, I’m so biased toward Golcha that I’ll probably love anything they do. Honestly, though, I’m a little scared of this “reboot.” I’m afraid this will end up like the last few Infinite albums for me, where I’ve preferred many of the b-sides to the title track. We’ll see! Right now I’m just so happy to have them back. It’s been such a long hiatus.

      Liked by 2 people

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