Review

Song Review: Treasure – Boy

YG boy group Treasure are easily the most anticipated debut of 2020 so far. But, let’s be honest. With a few exceptions, YG Entertainment’s post-2017 material has been more successful at building hype than actually delivering on it. It’s hard to remain a dedicated fan of a hype machine when there’s no payoff. After well over a year of waiting, Treasure devotees are gifted with… two songs. They had better be the best damn songs you’ve ever heard!

Though YG have debuted male idol groups before, Treasure feel more mainstream than hip-hop, and that allows for new possibilities that could really expand the agency’s appeal. Unfortunately, Boy starts strong but grows more disjointed as it goes on. Its first verse has a welcome electro thump, underlining a cohesive melody that points toward exciting things to come. Then the trap beats enter, at odds with the rest of the instrumental to the point of distraction. They’re clearly thrown in to appeal to trends rather than support the rest of the track. I remember when YG used to set K-pop trends, not be beholden to them.

From here, we move into Boy’s underwhelming chorus. Rather than offer a well-developed refrain, this segment tosses out most of the instrumental’s drive and replaces it with a noisy, ill-fitting electronic loop. The guys do their best to fashion a hook over the top, though it ends up being more of a shout-a-thon than an actual melody. I adore the echoed vocal layering during this moment. I just wish it was in service to a better chorus. I mean, this is a huge, twelve-member group. Take advantage of that blend and give the guys something to chew on.

True to modern boy group song templates, Boy collapses in its second verse. Those catchy melodies from verse one are replaced with requisite hip-hop posturing over an energy-sucking trap-rap instrumental. This sense of messiness continues into the bridge, which features nice performances within an aimless structure. Even worse is the pots-and-pans percussion that soundtracks the following chorus. It’s like the producers are trying to fill the song with everything they can think of, with little regard for how it all works together. And this being YG, we get one of those tacked-on chants during Boy’s final moments. These have become so predictable that they barely register anymore.

This all might sound overly harsh, and when compared to any random boy group comeback the song isn’t half bad. But, Treasure isn’t “any random boy group,” and my disappointment is directed more at YG Entertainment itself. The agency has such raw talent to work with, along with an incredibly devoted global fan base that will rally around even pre-debut groups. But, YG itself has been creatively bankrupt for too long now, regurgitating the same songs over and over. It’s frustrating, because blockbuster debuts like this should feel fresh and exciting. However, Boy isn’t brave enough to risk any new ideas.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.5

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

52 thoughts on “Song Review: Treasure – Boy

  1. I checked them out because my friends are big pre-debut stans. Not my cup of tea. I’m thinking YG thinks “electronic funk that’s slightly uncomfortable” = “creativity and new”. It’s unique sounding, but not in a notable way. I wish them the best though, because who knows when the first comeback will be.

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  2. In any case, I had been waiting for a Wanna One b-side for a year and half, and it’s quite funny it’s happened for good or for better or for worse. LOL

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  3. First of all, I am quite pleased that my boy Bang Yedam is the heavy hitter in this song, thank you YG!

    This song is so firmly in the current big boy band gestalt, Teddy/YG style. Within those constraints, it is OK. That noisy tinny drop is horrible. The outro is all Teddy-style one more time with feeling. The rest is pretty good for what passes for good these days. Meets expectations. And then after a quick 3:15, its over.

    What struck me most is that there is a full roster of quality voices in there, and also an interesting palette of voices. Not just all light lyric tenors, but some lower heavier voices. And not just one token low voice, like one Felix in Stray Kids. I was very pleased none of the voices did mush mouth singing to sound lower and heavier. And then there are some switch hitters in there, such as this gem at 0:31 Mashiho singing “You’re so beautiful …”, this kid can sing, and he only gets two lines. That is how deep the vocal line is. Compare to the I-land where out of about 24 boys, there are hardly any that can match up with the boy in Treasure who gets only two lines.

    So in the end, it’s a yes for me because hearing a quality vocal >>> that awful drop.

    Finally, I really really wanted to see the guy splash into the pool at the end in slo mo at 2:53. Or at least they should have ended with him mid-fall with a great to be continued … … Ah, twas not to be, alas.

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      • Yes, it’s a vast conspiracy. She sits around with charts and diagrams and plans every waking moment around bringing down Big Hit.

        Relax. The comparison is apt. I’ve complained about similar things in my I-LAND recaps.

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      • When it comes to lousy singing, I am an equal opportunity complainer, without concern for age, seniority, fandom size, revenue, race, religion, color, national origin, and sex.

        You should go read my complaints on other posts about the girl groups, some of whom cannot carry a tune. At all. Some wouldn’t even make the chorus in high school musicals.

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    • I know this was only a tiny part of your comment, but I was shocked when I saw how few lines Mashiho got! I agree that there are a lot of solid voices here, but I had expected him to be a little more front-and-center. I watched a couple of YGTB clips at my friend’s request back when the show was airing, and I remember telling her after the D (Half Moon) battle that I thought I’d prefer Mashiho as a soloist than a member of a group, which is not a sentence I have said or thought about anyone else. He’s got a really fun timbre and personality to work with. Unfortunately, the only other member I latched onto and really remembered (save for Yedam, whom everyone and their mother knows and should know) was Yoonbin, who made the cut but left well before debut.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, how about that. I don’t watch those shows. But I bothered to go watch the lyric video for this song because of Mashiho’s first of only two lines.
        (Also, I am that mother who knows Yedam.)

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  4. At first listen, I was really intrigued with those incredible melody, and then after that nice pre chorus we are hit at the chorus itself. It grew on me little by little, but my first impression was just “… What were they thinking?”

    I also have some minor issues with the 2nd verse as well, but that chorus would still stuck on me as… not so good. And that freaking dance break like, it felt so out of place. Luckily, that final chorus helped ease the flaw on it. It’s disappointing, and I felt the song didn’t manage to fully capture the skills of the Treasure members.

    Choice37, what happened?

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  5. I’m… weirdly onboard with this. The first verse is incredibly strong (second not so much), and the drop chorus is juuust left-field enough that I wasn’t rolling my eyes. Longevity might be an issue, but I enjoyed this a whole lot more than most boygroup tracks this year.

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    • I’ve gotta say… it’s growing on me. I still have all the issues I wrote about in the review, but the song doesn’t feel quite as disjointed after sitting with it a few days.

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  6. I hate to say it but it honestly sounds like a Blackpink song that YG & Co. put more effort into. It’s a good song nonetheless, but I can’t help making the comparison because the structures are very similar.

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  7. This is not about the group. I think the last YG song I really loved was really which was in 2017. Can I blame Yang Hyun suk for this? I really don’t understand why the music sounds like no one cares anymore and you would think after mountains of scandals they would distract with good music like sm did in 2015.

    This company needs a musical savior like pronto.

    Now I about the group. I enjoyed the song, it wasn’t terrible or bad and kinda good. 7 out of 10 may actually be best but you gave that same number to Gidle dumdi dumdi and every time I hear that song, I actually hate it more so I will give it a 7.9.

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    • “the music sounds like no one cares anymore” feels like a very apt description.

      Obviously, effort is going into the mv and promotion, but when it comes down to post-2017 YG music there just seems to no desire to craft anything meaningful — just throwaway, meme-worthy mush. The agency needed an injection of new, diverse composers ages ago.

      Or, just bring back G-Dragon to compose music for them again. For me, his work was always the soul of the YG sound. Now, everything feels so surface and disposable.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I guess the problem with this song for me is its uneven arrangement. Like, none of it is bad in any way, it just doesn’t fit together. Especially the chorus, while good, was exactly the opposite of what a song like this needed. I think if YG brought in Hui(Pentagon), then the chorus could have been amazing as he knows how to make straightforward and satisfying dance tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Update:
      It”s grown on me and while I think it still is a very messy song as a whole, its now one of my favorite 2020 guilty pleasures

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  9. My problem is that it just doesn’t feel like a debut song. It doesn’t tell me who they are, it just tells me they are following the trend of uncomfortable-to-listen-to-instrumental chorus over actual chorus. Give me something to actually hook me.

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  10. This is the kind of song that shows me how k-pop is such an impressive industry. You can now sell 100k albums before knowing how the group will sound like or even how the members sing. I’ve never been on the whole Produce/Entertainment shows side of k-pop so I don’t really know how everything works but I’m always impressed by how these kids are popular before releasing anything.

    About the song, it’s your basic 2020 boygroup song with nice vocals. Too many songs in this category…

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  11. I am unfamiliar with the process by which this group was formed, so I’ll be honest, I was less hyped for this debut than many others. Nevertheless, I’m always willing to give a new group a fair shake, particularly if it’s a new group from one of the more prominent labels. I was also looking forward to seeing if YG could escape the creative funk they’ve been in for the last few years.

    Sadly, I was disappointed to discover that this song didn’t do the trick. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a formulaic style to songwriting, it’s still the same uninspired composition that we’ve heard from YG. If the electronic hook on the chorus wasn’t so irritating, I’d be way less critical; but even so, the song doesn’t contribute anything new or fun or particularly interesting to me.

    Compared to Blackpink’s debut–which fully impressed me–I feel let down. 7.5/10 seems a bit generous, but maybe I’m just so fatigued with the musical monotony that comes out of YG these days that I can’t be bothered to think more highly of this debut.

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  12. God I really feeling the first verse and then everything after that came crashing down. My face turned blank after listening to the chorus because it sounded like HYLT’s but slightly better. It sounded like something Wanna One would’ve done as a b-side or a X1 title track. For such a hyped up group with such amazing vocals and a quality rapline, I wish they would’ve done something that was explosive and not like every group.

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  13. It absolutely boggles me that Teddy thought he could produce pretty much the same beatdrop chorus noises as HYLT for a song being released about a month later and expect everybody to just look the other way. Anyway, I was discussing this with a few friends, and I honestly think YG needs to see a major group flop. Obviously I say this with no ill will towards any of their artists or their current success, but I simply don’t think lazy songwriting and “leave them in the basement for a couple years to engender hype” should be valid marketing strategies that get rewarded with success. It’s become more apparent in a market where group sounds are increasingly targeting the western market, and suddenly YG’s “swag” edginess doesn’t seem to stand out as much after the 10th rerun of it. Fans are simply being ripped off here. I’d be pretty pissed if I was a Treasure stan.

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      • We are due for an AkMu comeback, aren’t we! Last autumn’s album “Sailing” was fantastic.
        I don’t know what their contract is, if there are any extension clauses for military service, but they should be nearing the end of the 1st 7 years soon. I don’t remember seeing anything that they have left =yet=. AkMu is self-producing and has a fan base, so I don’t think it matters where they go.

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  14. Maybe I’ll get attacked for saying this but this is another example of YG’s fall from grace. It’s not a bad song but it’s definitely not a knockout track and, most importantly, it’s the less YG debut song I’ve heard. YG’s sound is usually very bombastic (ok, fine this song has that) but also very characteristic. You could tell a YG song just by listening to it. BOY sounds pretty generic, like this song could be sung by any other boy group from a smaller company. It isn’t until Hyunsuk’s verse I get the YG sound.

    The first verses are nice, I love the vocalists in this group (Yedam, Jeongwoo and Junkyu have very beautiful vocal colors) and the group overall is very talented and has a lot of potential.

    I’ve been waiting a long time for their debut and I feel pretty disappointed.

    Let’s hope YG gets their braincells to work and they either fire Teddy or find a producer that can bring their musical quality back. Didn’t G-Dragon get released from military service already? I’m not sure.

    Solid 7 for me.

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    • Sad part is Teddy had no part in this, they just seemed to have hoped something in the vein of Blackpink’s DDDD would be a formula for a major debut hit with their new group

      Liked by 1 person

  15. My view is it’s not bad at all. The intro through the prechorus is actually really promising, the second verse is weak, the bridge through outro is good, and at least YG’s pots and pans choruses remain the best-sounding ones in an industry now flooded in them (ie they’re mixed very well, they’re filled out completely but not overstuffed to where they sound like mud.) It’s a very passable song for kpop in 2020. But I would’ve preferred something very different, especially considering how deep their vocal line goes (5 lead vocalists, and several competent ones behind them).

    I do find the “YG/Teddy is creatively bankrupt” backlash a little overblown/cherrypicking however: Plenty of other companies (Well honestly, all of them) can’t consistently pick amazing material for their groups to save their lives, but no one keeps track of that/tries to find a trend within it. This is the first song outside Blackpink that follows in D4’s template, and the other songs from the same projects D4/KTL/Boy are found on are actually diverse in sound and structure. Winner and iKON’s recent material also doesn’t have any threads connecting them to Treasure and Blackpink’s output. Plus, the producers aren’t the ones deciding what song will get picked to get an MV and promotion.

    I get there’s an idea that the Big 3’s music is supposed to be the best kpop has to offer (Which I think is false), and I’m not saying saying “these are actually amazing songs”/”they should do more of this”, just that I’m not sure it’s a major issue that’s unique to YG.

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    • The thing is… YG’s motto was about quality over quantity. And we used to get that. Despite extended hiatuses from BIGBANG, 2NE1 each time they come back it’s been fruitful. That’s why they tend to get away with postponing releases and having long breaks. But ever since last year? Maybe two years ago, the amount of music that has come out of YG’s roster has stayed the same if not decreased, and the quality of music has decreased quite a bit. They used to be trend-setters not trend-followers. So I believe Nick’s statement about being creatively bankrupt carries more weight because of YG’s motto.

      Now you mention that the producers aren’t the ones deciding what song will get an MV. If the producers aren’t deciding it then who is deciding it? The MV directors? Usually, producers draft up a list of “working progress” songs. In their current state they’re demos and it is from there that they pick which song becomes the title track. Then they polish that track to the point where it’s perfect and title track quality. Songs that don’t get picked either go on it as b-sides or on the backburner for something else. That’s the role of producers. Not only do they produce music. They produce the entire album and it’s concept, lyric-wise and genre-wise

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      • I’m fairly certain that is what happens, but I’m no insider expert on what goes on behind the scenes so if anyone likes to shed some light on this matter, please do.

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  16. The music video might have helped a lot, but I love this. It’s fresh and trendy, but again, the MV might have really helped a lot because once I hear the song sans visuals, I just remember the visuals. The electro loop in the chorus is off-putting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Don’t know how this song will age though. Enjoyable listen overall.

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  17. I’ve been noticing an increase in R.Tee’s influence in YG’s music. I call him the EDM guy. His choruses tend to fall down to either towards an EDM drop or chanting/shouting. R.Tee was the one that arranged this song (meaning he picked the sounds.) R.Tee is also listed in credits as composer and arranger for recent BLACKPINK songs D4, KTL and HYLT (note the similarities of skeletal instrumental loop, big drop, chanting).

    I know that many people are complaining at TEDDY (me as well), but I’m starting to think R.Tee’s involvement in the production of these songs is far bigger than what we actually think. I know TEDDY’s name is always listed first in the credits which signifies the amount of involvement he has had, but ever since R.Tee started creeping into the credits we’ve been having songs like this (loop, drop, chant). I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s noticed this or thinks like this. I’m curious to hear what other people think.

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    • I think you may be onto something. I’ve noticed R.Tee’s name on the newer tracks as well, and up to this point I considered that a good thing because I’m so fond of that track he did with Anda last year. But of course, one great song doesn’t make a great producer… especially if they’re writing to some agency-approved template.

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    • I wouldn’t blame the producers. We all know YG’s tendency to do the bare minimum, and given the fact that coming back with the same song again and again has been proven very successful with BLACKPINK… I just think their producers may have been told to not fix what isn’t broken and just try with a little more of the same with other artists too.

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    • I think it’s fine. It doesn’t knock my socks off, and feels pretty generic. But, at least it’s a coherent song (minus that awful post-chorus rap break). It actually reminds me a lot of Teen Top.

      What I’d really like to hear from Treasure (and every group, really) is a sound unique to them.

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  18. The verse are really good but then everything fell apart bcs of the chorus. I mean, did YG really don’t want to put effort in their music anymore or what???
    I feel disappointed with this debut despite cheering on them since YGTB.

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  19. Honestly, I liked the song so much. It was refreshing seeing young teenagers (15Y to 21Y) having fun. They have 12 members and divided the parts really well. I don’t know what you guys expected but I’m pleased with their debut. This comment section gives me more a vibe of #LetsHateYG. The boys will be successful. If not nationally, than 100 precent internally.

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    • It’s much more along the lines I’d like to see them pursue in the future, though I don’t think it’s strong enough to be a title track so I see why they didn’t give it an mv.

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  20. Funny enough, the more I listen to this song the more I like it. It manages to hype me up even though I felt it was noisy at first. I was like “This just sounds like something literally any other BG would do and there’s nothing special.” But the song has surprised me. No listener fatigue even though I’ve basically been streaming for three days straight. (I’m a fan) At first, I just streamed with my headphones plugged in but not in my ears, but then I found out I actually wanted to listen to the song. The build up to the chorus is the best part, “I can make you happy…” part. Just *Chef’s kiss*

    I loved the second stanza, how the beats kinda settle with Haruto’s rap and then the tempo picks up with Hyunsuk’s.

    The only parts I don’t love are the chorus and the dance break. The dance break feels empty to me, the beats not interesting to keep me listening. Wish they had taken out the dance break for the official audio and kept it only in the video.

    Disappointed in this chorus from Choice cuz he is my mmaaannn in kpop. BB’s Bad Boy and Girlfriend and Mino’s Rocket are some of my faves. Probably R.Tee in charge of the chorus though.

    There’s something oddly special about it. Sounds like it WOULD be jarring but it ends up not being jarring at all. The person who was in charge of line distribution did so well. They blend excellently IMO.

    Overall, the song is genuinely enjoyable and doesn’t take itself too seriously which is very refreshing. I’m not a fan of dark or overly complex concepts.

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  21. I’m glad someone feels similarly to me about the first half of the song.
    I really liked the first verse of the song, but then the chorus came around..
    Let’s just say that I didn’t love it.

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  22. This has grown on me but I literally CANNOT stand the song after it passes the 3:00 mark. I hate that basic dance breakdown, cringy transition (shhh, treasure), and typical YG party chanting end.

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