I don’t often write about English-language releases by K-pop acts because, quite frankly, I don’t usually like them. But, Monsta X have dropped so many English songs this year that it’s hard to ignore them. And apart from a dreadful French Montana verse, their Who Do You Love was a surprisingly funky bit of old-school pop music. New single Middle Of The Night follows where that track left off, though it’s a slightly more downbeat, pensive affair.
This song arrives only weeks after member Wonho left the group, to a fan base that is still reeling with shock. Obviously, these kinds of releases are planned months in advance, but Middle Of The Night still feels like a fitting soundtrack for the moment. The instrumental has a slightly somber appeal, though it never devolves into maudlin territory. Instead, a catchy electronic beat pairs with languid synths to create an atmospheric slow burn. It’s simple and understated, but not boring.
Lyrically, Middle Of The Night is fine. The song sidesteps most of the cringe-worthy phrases I expected to hear in favor of more generic lovelorn fare. The vocal performances are great, melding rhythmic delivery with occasional bits of blending that give the track a classic appeal. This is most evident during the shimmering chorus, which supports its strong melody with a retro arrangement. If anything, the song feels too short. It’s begging for an extended outro that could fully exploit the hook’s sticky quality. My purist mindset will always prefer K-pop acts performing in their own language, but so far Monsta X have crafted a more convincing Western discography than any of their contemporaries.
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