With so many of their peers heading down a darker, moodier route, Dongkiz have become a welcome salve for the boy group landscape. It’s hard to imagine anything called “Dongkiz” being the least-bit edgy, but that’s okay. Given all the chaos and anxiety floating around the world right now, I think we could all use a little light entertainment. But even during the best of times, there’s no shame in going upbeat and funky. I wish more groups would realize that.
While it’s not perfect, Lupin offers a few big bright spots. As with so many other modern K-pop tracks, the song’s beat heavy hook makes me long for an actual chorus. And, I wish the pre-chorus didn’t sacrifice so much momentum for its trendy, trap-infused build. But, I’m not in the mood to nag about Lupin’s shortcomings. You’ve heard me complain about these same aspects more than enough times already. Instead, I want to focus on the song’s groove.
This is no skeletal trap dirge (well… excluding that pesky pre-chorus). A sense of giddy rhythm is prominent from the beginning, culminating in a herky-jerky refrain anchored by punches of distorted guitar. I’m not sure how well the specific tone of the synth riff works here, as it quickly grows grating. But, I love the rhythm guitar that underlines the verses. It compensates for a barely-there melody, propelling the track with verve. Dongkiz are at their best when they embrace this kind of addictive energy, and Lupin might have been a total knockout if it had found a way to develop this strength rather than shift between several disparate elements. Still, Dongkiz remain on my shortlist of reliably fun K-pop boy groups. Unfortunately, it’s a list that’s becoming increasingly more exclusive as the year goes on.
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