Song Review: GOT7 – Not By The Moon

My relationship with GOT7’s post-2015 music has been fraught with disappointment and disinterest. However, 2019 reignited some sparks, led by a strong spring mini album and a great fall single in the form of the funky You Calling My Name. It was satisfying to hear the guys tackle something a little more lighthearted in sound, devoid of any need to appear dark or serious. Unfortunately, new track Not By The Moon is the umpteenth moody boy group release of 2020, without much to distinguish it from all the others.

I had hope, especially with agency-head Park Jinyoung listed as a producer. He’s usually got a good ear for funk, or at the very least smooth, late-90’s r&b. Imagine my disenchantment, then, when Not By The Moon opened with the exact same instrumental palette we’ve heard countless times before. Angsty, pitched vocals and synths? Check. Trap-inspired EDM build? Double check. I find nothing inspiring about the production here. It’s utterly predictable at every moment, and just lumbers along without charm or necessity.

Melodically, Not By The Moon is a bit stronger. Its verses are largely time-fillers, whether in the form of languid sing-talk or characterless rap. But, the chorus stirs some interest. It’s repetitive in structure, but that approach adds a bit of rhythm to an otherwise clunky track. It’s well-performed and attempts a sense of musical catharsis that brings needed drama. I especially like the song’s last thirty seconds, when the instrumental finally decides to transform into something more spontaneous and supports a climax that almost feels anthemic. Still, if last year represented two steps forward, Moon is one frustrating step back.

 Hooks 8
 Production 6
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

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


34 thoughts on “Song Review: GOT7 – Not By The Moon

  1. Wow, they’re finally back! So why does it feel so unexciting?
    That was the exact feeling I had when listening to eclipse last year. Now I can’t help but feel the same. If I’m being honest this track is better than Eclipse, but not by a lot. The verses suck (especially the second one), and the track doesn’t do much to aid them. The chorus does save this song but its a step down from the choruses of Look, You Are, If You Do, etc… Overall its makes a forgettable package, and I have to say, I wish they cut out Mark’s first verse as it’s unbearable to listen to. The rest is fine, could have been better:(
    Rating: 7.5

    The boy group curse continues with Got7 forgetting what made them so promising. In the next chapter we look at IMFACT, H&D, Monsta X, Nu’est, Astro.
    Last year in May we were gifted with Superhuman, sadly I don’t think a song of that quality will appear in the next month.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The whole ep is a mono-tone, mono-note combination of exactly the same dull, annoying pattern. Probably I would have chosen Trust My Love as a title track: at least it has reggaeton-drums and latin inspired chorus to boost its immense sense of nothing.


  3. I really don’t know who GOT7 are. Sure, visually I can actually pick them out, because they are so popular. Every couple years, I dig one of their songs. But songs like this are so generic for a Big group from a Big agency. What do they really mean musically? Pfft, what does it matter what I think – the album is number 3 on US itunes right now.

    The only thing I am digging this week is the kpopera release by Forestella “Nella Fantasia” aka “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone with added Italian lyrics. That is not a soprano – that is a countertenor. dmnit! the song isn’t on itunes yet – apparently album is released in May.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love JB’s voice. That’s all I have to say about this song, I had the exact same check note idea that came to my mind, you can even do one for the MV (Laser ✅, Boys dancing in a dark place ✅, close-up on a sexy face ✅).
    I agree with MYMAGOOGLE’s comment about their identity, for a group that has been there for more than six years they didn’t leave any print.

    I don’t know how many time left before the first members go to the army (or Jackson goes full time in China) but I think I can stop hoping for them to release something memorable.


  5. As hit-or-miss as GOT7 seems to be, when their songs hit the mark, they hit it perfectly. A lot of their releases circa 2014 are why I got into JYP, as well as K-Pop in general. This means I’m always disappointed when a song doesn’t really connect with me, but I do have a pretty strong connection with the group that makes me (foolishly?) optimistic about future releases.

    GOT7 seem to be next on the chopping block for Big 3 disbandments, as their contract expires sometime around the end of this year or the beginning of 2021. Rumors have been flying around, as they do, and a lot of people don’t have high hopes for the contract negotiations. As overall disappointing as the last few years of GOT7 have been, I really hope they stick around. Even though I don’t particularly love the members or their music, it would mark the first disbandment of a high-profile group that I’m closely familiar with, if I remember correctly; plus, I just feel like they have more left in them than this. It’s great that they’re exploring new musical styles and I know they’ve been somewhat pushed to the side by newer JYP talent, but all the genre-hopping yields little success and makes me skeptical about their future. They definitely have it in them to regain their footing, though. For every “Not By The Moon” there’s an “If You Do”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • In recent news, they’re not disbanding, just leaving JYPE. It definitely bodes for less group promotion as each member embarks on more solo projects with different agencies, but I have hope for this group. As an ahgase, it’s pretty clear how strong their bond is beyond their working relationship, so I’d say they have a far better chance than other groups who’ve left their agency but stayed together, for actually releasing new music together. I’m a little apprehensive, but mostly hopeful and anticipating. It’ll be interesting to see what they give us, without the backing of a major agency like JYPE. Although in recent years JYPE and Div 2 really haven’t given GOT7 much backing at all (just look at their promotions, or lack thereof).


  6. Honestly in the lineage of JYP groups (especially among boy groups) GOT7 to me stands out as the biggest disappointment. I used to be a huge fan in the first few years when they first debuted but their music has never met their larger than life personalities and enormous potential in the middle. Compare them to 2PM (one of my all time favorite groups) and 2PM’s huge array of classic bangers in Korean and Japanese, and I can’t help but feel like there are so many big missed opportunities with GOT7 and their music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While there have been a few 2020 highlights for me, I’m right there with you when it comes to this sentiment. It’s hard to generate excitement when the industry’s churning out the exact same song over and over again.


        • Honestly , I enjoyed their comeback particularly the album . I understand people’s disappointments, but lets be honest , the kpop title tracks released this year are pretty weak and are overshadowed by their b-sides . 2020 seems to
          be a bad year for kpop


  7. The chorus would actually be Wacko-decent if they let the “oh swear not by the moon” and the ones that come later prolong a little more to (what it seems to me is) their logical conclusion instead of cutting abruptly with those “woah”. And perhaps put someone with a lower voice than Yugyeom. But yeah, the verses are pretty much time-fillers.

    I’m in agreement with those who said GOT7 has no personality. They’re pretty much what Nick said about SF9, with the difference that SF9 actually releases interesting, if wildly different, tracks from time to time. What happened to the guys who made If You Do?

    BTW, Nick, would you mind doing a little glossary of the terms you tend to use for the benefit of ignorant noobish readers like me who have just barely begun to pay attention to their music? I read some of your older reviews daily and half of the time I don’t get what you’re talking about.


      • Yikes, I feel kind of embarrased now, but here go the things I can’t find a satisfactory (or dumbed-down enough) definition for:

        -to coast
        -surging guitar
        -the difference between refrain and chorus (yea, I use the word but I barely know what it means); bridge (you know, mostly song structure words.)
        -different genres of electronic music (synthwave…?)
        -different music genres in general.

        Uh, that’s what comes to mind now. I’d really really appreciate it if you take the time to do it, with examples.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Now, take this with a grain of salt because my knowledge of music theory basically extends to a couple classes in college and the occasional substitute job teaching elementary music! Most of the words I choose are colorful ways to describe how a song makes me feel, rather than technical terms.

          Coast – I usually use this when describing a song that feels as if it’s gliding in the air, especially when the transitions between sections feel smooth, natural and satisfying.

          Harmony – vocal arrangement that blends together nicely.

          Surging guitar – guitar (usually electric) that’s played in a way to add oomph and power to a track. Usually rhythmic in nature – kind of like the guitar version of an EDM build.

          Midtempo – Not a dance track, not a ballad (ie: the majority of boy group songs lately).

          Syncopation – gonna copy and paste the wikipedia definition here: “syncopation involves a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat.” Basically, it’s a way of arranging or playing the rhythm to make it feel more spontaneous and funky.

          Refrain/chorus – honestly, I use these interchangeably. Technically, a refrain is usually only a line or two, while a chorus encompasses a larger section. Too many recent K-pop choruses are just refrains in disguise, though.

          Bridge – The section that usually comes two-thirds of the way through a song. Most K-pop title tracks follow this general structure: verse 1, pre-chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus. But honestly, these days a good bridge has become a lost art. It can be the best, most spontaneous and interesting part of a song if done right.

          EDM genres – you’d have to look online for the ones you’re interested in. There are many, and they all have elements that blend into one another. Synthwave, specifically, is heavily influenced by 80’s movie and video game soundtracks, and encompasses a general aesthetic in addition to the actual music.

          Music genres – again, this is a bigger topic than I could do justice to within the space of a comment. There are so many genres and sub-genres out there, and K-pop is known for blending several together on any given song. Just know that “trap” is a specific hip-hop sub-genre that I personally detest.

          Hope this helps!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Jackson semi-singing in the pre chorus is what stood out to me. The rest was underwhelming, though.

    While I watched I was hoping they’d crack a little bit of a smile, but nope. Dramatic expressions all the way through. Got7’s strongest material (for me) has never been too self-serious. They have a reputation as a funny, crazy group. I don’t think songs like this play to their strengths, and I’m not sure if they’re enjoying themselves, either.

    Boy groups tend to start with cuter, lighter concepts and then their sound matures as they do. But they can and should be able to dip back into lighthearted stuff. Super Junior returned and they’re just here to have a good time. I want Got7 to just have fun with their next release.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve always been more of a music stan, and I’ve never been quite able to get into Got7. Their music is just not (for lack of a better word) interesting, and it definitely doesn’t live up to their personalities, of which the combination is one of the most solid in kpop. It’s disappointing.

    Most 2020 tracks are probably what have locals saying kpop all sounds the same because…honestly…I can’t disagree. Why is this happening? Is it because they can’t spent enough time on music because of everything going on? Is it because kpop has become slightly more popularized and thus is turning intent towards generating mindless, guaranteed-popularity songs for the general public instead of taking risks and trying to stand out?

    A few months into 2020, and I’ve downloaded exactly eight kpop title tracks this year. This isn’t ideal. Any b-sides you would recommend aside from the buried treasures?


    • I think this is may be bts’ fault for breaking into the west because one thing im reminded of this year is not just how every song is bland, its western bland.


      • ONF-Asteroid?
        Kang Daniel-Jealous
        NCT-127-Love Me Now
        Golden Child-She’s my girl/I love u crazy

        There should me more but theres so many albums I haven’t listened to and so many albums I thought were 😦


  10. Well, I thought they had found their sound because their music (at least bsides) were pretty consistent since 2018, but this (the whole mini) is too bg-mainstream.
    For me their sound is chill (like Teenager and Thursday) and “upbeat” (like Page and Enough) and I agree that any of those songs is as good as the one from other JYP artists but I find it enjoyable to listen from time to time.
    Funny how this song co-composed by “The Asiansoul” and it has nothing of soul lol


  11. I don’t love this track, but it’s growing on me. The chorus is pretty uninspired but I think the raps are pretty strong for GOT7 and the instrumental is really nice and atmospheric, but then again I don’t mind the trap-pop sound. The album is alright, but I think “Love You Better” is easily the strongest song. The chorus is really cute and catchy, and the little electronic blips and whirs atop the instrumental are really nice. I think they were trying to be pretty edgy this time around, and though I don’t think it worked a lot of the time, there are certainly little flashes of success here and there.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love GOT7. I’m probably the only person that actually listens to ALL of their songs in this comment thread. NBTM was about an 8 out of 10, only because it is pretty repetitive, but that’s because it was written by two songwriters from a different country, and most of their songs have a lot of meat in it. I liked the sound too because most kpop songs are loud, and I’m kind of tired of that. If you take time to listen to the whole album, you’ll know that GOT7 are those guys that have perfected their sound over the years with Posion, Crazy, Aura, and Love You Better; all written by the boys 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. First of all I would like to say excellent
    blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to
    ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend
    to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.