In a K-pop world where Sweetune productions are becoming more and more of a rarity, the last bastion of reliably good Sweetune jams has fallen. Yes, boy group TST have moved on to new producers. And, like most groups who make this transition, their material has suffered. I appreciate what they’re trying to do with Countdown, but I think I like the idea better than the execution.
Opening with a slick funk/r&b beat, Countdown instantly reminded me of K-pop in the late 00’s. The instrumental plays with interesting textures, bringing in jazzy undertones and exciting – almost improvisational – blasts of guitar. It feels constantly in motion, establishing a nice groove but riffing on it in an organic, ever-changing way. If TST must change concepts, this isn’t a bad route to go.
However, I wish that Countdown’s melody matched the thrill of its instrumental. The chorus isn’t bad, but a little one-note for my taste. It relies too heavily on the funky vibe of its production, though I think its charms will grow over time. The verses are less memorable, driven by rap or sing-talk delivery that never establishes much of a melodic structure. My head was nodding throughout, but I craved a little more to sink my teeth into. On the plus side, TST’s vocals have rarely sounded stronger. They seem to relish the opportunity to try something a little different, and I think they pull it off. Now, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, just imagine how awesome this could’ve been with Sweetune’s magic melodic touch. I’m sorry. I just can’t let go that easily!
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