Song Review: CRAVITY – Flame

Buoyed by several members’ Produce X 101 popularity, CRAVITY debuted earlier this year to much commercial success. Their fan base is already strong. Now, they’ve just got to figure out which direction to take their music. So far, they’ve presented us with two contrasting concepts: the Monsta X-lite Break All The Rules and the flower boy Cloud 9. Both borrowed from common K-pop tropes, and neither really painted CRAVITY with a unique sound. I can’t blame Starship Entertainment for wanting to replicate proven successes, but new single Flame represents the drawbacks to that approach.

Flame is boy group bluster, bounding along heavy percussion and thundering synth accents. Backing vocals are used effectively to soften some of the instrumental’s blunt edges, but other than that this production feels very ‘K-pop Boy Group 101,’ failing to deliver any surprises. Interestingly, Flame’s hook strongly echoes the pre-chorus of 2PM’s 2015 hit My House. I’m not sure if this was an intentional callback, but the similarity is striking. Of course, My House went on from there to blossom into a great chorus, different enough from its verses to stick.

Flame is much more simple in its approach, and suffers from its inability to land an instantly-memorable punch. Compared to Break All The Rules, this feels like a musical afterthought, repeating that song’s successful energy but never forging a personality of its own. Having come to know the members through Produce 101, I can attest that personality is not an issue with CRAVITY. I only wish they were given material that helped spotlight that in a more satisfying way.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7


14 thoughts on “Song Review: CRAVITY – Flame

  1. This is their best performance out of their titles so far. The vocals sound much more polished, and I think it’s because Flame is in a better range for the vocalists. The woodblock intro is really cool, and I like how the first verse starts unexpectedly. Having the opening lines match the rhythm of the instrumental is a nice touch. I thought of My House the first time I heard the chorus as well. The rest of the song didn’t really stand out to me, except for the outro which I think closes the song well, but I do like that it stays in the same soundscape for a consistent song. I prefer this to Break All the Rules. The vocals and cool instrumental moments raise it to a 7.5 for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I prefer the instrumentals of this song but the vocals and performance of Break All the Rules. I hope they can find their path at some point cos they do have talent but Starship doesn’t seem sure what to do with them.


  3. I appreciate the simplicity of the track, but honestly it felt weak in comparison of break all the rules. It’s not a huge disappointment, but it’s not a big appreciation as well. I like the melody and the strong vocals, they really give the song more impact. The verses were forgettable though and weak, but the pre chorus and chorus are actually pretty decent.

    Maybe I expected a lot because sean alexander worked on it. I love his works of verivery’s new jack swing songs. I hope starship will give them their very own image and sound like what they did to their other artists as well, but clearly they’re still in a state of identity crisis.


  4. Even the MV is extremely generic and boring lol. I’ll give a chance to the rest of the album, though. People on Reddit said their b-sides were way better and it’s not that I got interested in them because of Break all the rules anyways.


    • They definitely have a couple b-sides on this one that are far superior. Overall, though, both of their albums have felt more like a collection of multi-genre Produce 101 mission songs than the work of a rookie group building their sound.


  5. Their b-sides are always stronger but I really liked this title! The background vocals really did wonders for its appeal, at least for me. Break All The Rules also grew on me so maybe I’m starting to like generic boy group kpop haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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