Song Review: M.O.N.T – Shadow

Under-the-radar boy group M.O.N.T have been steadily releasing music these past few months, whether as a trio or soloists. Most of it has drawn more upon hip-hop influences than the funk-pop of last year’s Rock Paper Scissors. But, even the most melodic tracks in M.O.N.T’s discography have always relied strongly on rap. Shadow is no different, though it steers the group’s sound in a new direction.

Shadow’s verses unfold with a more languid flow than usual, while its chorus injects an r&b vocal that feels new for the group. The entire track has a laid-back, extemporary feel to it. I have no doubt that the performance has been honed through weeks of practice, but it doesn’t come across as overly perfected. This organic atmosphere is very appealing, and matches the track’s jazzy groove. It also compliments M.O.N.T themselves, who have always had a slightly “rough around the edges” charm.

With that said, this approach has its drawbacks as well. Shadow will get your head nodding for a few minutes, but it never delivers the kind of knockout moment that might have you rushing back for more. The closest we get is the chorus, which offers a nice contrast between the gruff texture of the main vocal line and the more ethereal melody that follows. Shadow also introduces a groovy bridge, complete with vocal scatting and piano-led breakdown. It conjures a great mood, even if it’s quite specific in tone. Whether you’re up for that or not will greatly influence your enjoyment of the track.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7


9 thoughts on “Song Review: M.O.N.T – Shadow

  1. Ah, yes, this. I like the shagginess, I love the instrumental, like the scat, hate the rap and sing song spoken words sections. Yeah, somewhere in the 7’s for effort.

    This has echoes of ONF “Moscow Moscow” and Day6’s YoungK’s covers. Getting that old jazzy Rat Pack vibe into Kpop. That wasn’t on your short list of kpop genres to try, but hey maybe it will happen anyway!

    YoungK keeps popping up on my youtube feed, and its all good. He does a “Fly me to the Moon” cover that is just kiss kiss! Also his “What a Wonderful World” is fantastic.

    While I am on the topic, I shall diverge to my other favorite topic these days, Forestella. They did this jazzy song a few months ago, live, and the harmonies are kiss kiss. Live harmonies, people! It is possible!


  2. OT, Sorry, more. SM sometimes doesn’t get enough credit for stuff. This summer for fun and to keep people paid and working, they hired the Seoul orchestra to do symphonic covers of classic SM songs under their SM Station aegis.

    This just came to mind not just because the BoA symphonic cover came out this morning in my youtube feed, but also because this MONT song reminded me of the time a few years back when they hired Jonas Nilsson and Richard Bona to do an SM Station track with one of the NCTizens. It is and was just about the only kpop song (if it could be called kpop) that my husband can stand because he is a huge Richard Bona fan.


  3. Yay! Thank you for writing up the review!

    I definitely have bias for any M.O.N.T release, but was still pleasantly surprised with the track and genre.

    My favorite parts of the song are Bitsaeon’s prechorus lines and high notes. Usually high notes are reserved for the bridge or climax of a song, but this time it just built up energy into the chorus. Bitsaeon has this lovely voice and singing ability that I think anchors in that “smooth jazz” among the rest of the song’s rap elements. Lastly, his scatting peppered towards the song’s end is nice, since again we don’t get a lot of jazz and scat in kpop.

    Basically I love Bitsaeon and M.O.N.T. wbk.


  4. I totally agree with this review. The song wasn’t bad per se but it did leave me a lot to be desired and I hope they continue to grow into their sound. Also, this may seem coming out of left field, but would you consider looking at Ring Ma Bell by Two X? They were a nugu girl group that released this song in 2013 and it’s kind of having a viral moment on kpop twitter right now for being a really good song that was overlooked when it released.


    • Oh how funny… I had no idea that it was having a resurgence. It’s a fine track, but I much prefer their ‘Double Up’ from 2012. Now, that’s a jam!!


    • I hadn’t even heard of Two X before your comment. This was before my kpop days.

      This is nostalgia of a completely different kind: the very recent past. Maybe add to Nick’s list of trends to see is lets just go back 5 or 10 years to that sound. Both “RIng Ma Bell” and “Double Up” are good stuff. Actual singing. No jarring trap rap breakdown 2nd verse. Sung chorus.


  5. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t like this song. I might be a huge sucker for the jazzy vibes, but I felt like the hip hop beat just sucked the soul out of the song, and it would be better fit to some acoustic percussion(like in the teaser). And also, something about the song just felt so… anticlimactic and stiff to me. Like you said, it didn’t really get to that knockout point throughout the song.

    But, knowing me, I’ll probably start liking it if I listen to it more. It’s an alright song, but for me it just isn’t “Instant” by Park Kyung level. AT ALL.


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