It’s been a rough year for us Sweetune fanatics. 2018 gave us several new classics, but all 2019 has offered are a couple of way-below-the-radar boy group tracks, a standout Japanese Hara (RIP) track, and a trio of IZ singles, which don’t sound like Sweetune at all despite being composed by the team. Oh, and there were a couple of solo Lee Jeongmin (ex-Boyfriend) tracks – so forgettable that I didn’t even cover them here.
Anyways, Memento (메멘토) is another Sweetune track that avoids their musical hallmarks. Its opening verse unveils plenty of potential, awash in atmospheric synths and snowballing percussion. As more instrumentation comes in, it seems like we’re building toward something really explosive. Unfortunately, Memento’s chorus is kind of a dirge. It aims for anthemic, but feels too plodding and lockstep to ignite many sparks. This may just be personal preference talking, though. I’ve never really cared for rock songs with upbeat verses and half-tempo choruses. They just come across as too formulaic to me.
Main vocalist Jihoo continues to impress, belting out Memento’s melody with plenty of aplomb. His voice isn’t as distinct as groups like DAY6 or N.Flying, but it’s powerful and rich. I just wish that the song pushed it in more unexpected directions. Memento is “anthemic rock 101,” rising and falling at just the points you’d expect. Fans of this genre will likely find much to love — and given that straightforward radio-rock seems to be an endangered species in much of the world, Memento’s very existence is comforting. But, even a post-chorus guitar solo doesn’t captivate in the way I would’ve hoped. I feel like I’ve heard this song a million times before.
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