Song Review: Victon – Howling

The whole Produce X 101 and X1 phenomenon may have collapsed, but its biggest beneficiary was boy group Victon. They came roaring back last fall, their popularity buoyed immensely by the series. And now that X1 has disbanded, leader Seungwoo is able to join the guys for new single Howling (하울링). This should bring the group even more attention. Now, all they’ve got to work on is the music.

Though I wasn’t too hot on November’s Nostalgic Night, the song grew on me a bit. And, it was paired with strong b-sides that hinted at a potentially interesting future for Victon. Maybe that’s why Howling feels underwhelming. It’s not a bad song, but it closely mirrors almost every boy group release we’ve heard this past month or so. Moody and dark are the keywords of 2020 so far, and Howling uses all the expected tricks to get there. Its opening verse is a slow burn of muted synths and trap percussion. The structure here is fine, though hardly galvanizing. At least the autotune is kept to a minimum and the arrangement feels relatively taut.

Howling’s chorus is its strongest element, and could have been a total knockout. The melody reminds me of 2014-era Beast, but with more downbeat angst thrown over the top. Its final lines are particularly pleasant, bringing in a swirling vocal hook that’s almost hypnotic in its simplicity. Unfortunately, much of this goodwill is undercut by an inert instrumental that sacrifices drama in favor of murky boy group affectations. I get that all these groups want to be taken seriously, but I’m really longing for the show-stopping comeback songs of days past. More than anything, I’d like to see groups like Victon having fun with their music again. Enough with the pop song depression.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

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

6 thoughts on “Song Review: Victon – Howling

  1. I actually think this is their strongest song yet!
    It may sound similar to alot of boy group tracks of the past few months, but that hook is an absolute winner in my ears. The beast comparison is bang on, and probably the reason why I like it so much. The rest of the track is fine, not revolutionary, but still pretty good in its own right.

    A solid 8.75/10 in my books. I wasn’t too hot on their last album, so I hope this one changes that!


  2. For me it’s a downgrade from Nostalgic Night, which was one of my favorite tracks of last year, along with several b sides. overall I thought NN was just a stellar album.
    It’s a shame that Seungwoo’s return couldn’t be accompanied by a more remarkable track. I’ll keep it in rotation though, and keep an eye out for the new b sides.


  3. Its ok *sigh*. I liked “Time of Sorrow” from a couple years ago, and that is about all from Victon that has hit my radar. “Time” is on my “Mellow” playlist on the ipod that won’t sync anymore, and so it shall always stay on that playlist for all time.

    I am getting my existential angst this week from a rediscovery of The Police “Synchronicity” album. You can’t get more angsty than Synchronicity II. And that song everyone thinks is a love song, yanno Every Breath you take, is the cleverest song about stalking your ex-wife ever.


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