Song Review: SuperM – Tiger Inside

I know that the very idea of SuperM has more than its share of detractors, but right now they’re one of the few projects consistently delivering the style of big-budget, classic K-pop that forged the history of SM Entertainment. I hadn’t listened to Tiger Inside until today, but I’d seen quite a bit of hype around its live performances – especially compared to the song’s more bombastic, dorkier brother 100. I will die on the hill of defending 100, though I know I’m in the minority. Tiger Inside feels more typical of modern SM. It’s kind of an EXO-meets-NCT situation (which is basically what SuperM is, anyway). As such, it loses some of the super-group’s novelty factor, but remains immensely appealing.

I mean, there’s no way a song featuring this combination of talents could be unappealing, right? Tiger Inside thrives on many of SM’s post-2011 musical tropes. It’s all herky-jerky percussion and mystical splashes of synth. This time around, the production is clearly more influenced by current trends, but the instrumental still manages a few experimental jolts to make the track feel fresh. I love the contrast between the higher-pitched, icy electronics and the grittier, bass-driven beat, as well as all the distorted elements that are used to support the guys’ voices.

Melodically, Tiger Inside is more fleshed-out than 100, even if its hooks don’t hit with quite the same goofy-awesome energy. Its chorus and verses follow roughly the same template, unveiling a taunting melody that traces the nuances of the instrumental. The chorus has a similar, militant appeal as past EXO hits like Monster, though the histrionics of the vocal arrangement are toned-down a bit. I think a greater sense of melodic diversity might have led to a more dynamic product, but there are some great vocal flourishes sprinkled throughout. This culminates in a satisfying moment of interplay during Tiger Inside‘s bridge, which segues into a rap-driven breakdown before climaxing in a Baekhyun-focused power note. It’s a nice high-point for a track that largely surrenders to its groove.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8



29 thoughts on “Song Review: SuperM – Tiger Inside

  1. Unlike 100 I actually agree with the rating and think it’s great. As for the music video it was surprisingly good but next I’d like more tigers and less pink mullets

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow talk about bitter. They served, you’re just looking for a way to hate. You could’ve just said you didn’t like the song, which is completely valid, and moved one inste


      • hey, easy there. Monsterhive said s/he didn’t like the song, maybe the phrasing was a bit pointed, but not that pointy and not ad hominem at all.

        moving on …

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This kind of reminds me of Exo’s controversial “Wolf” especially because of the animalistic title and the percussion at he beginning of the song but I’m not complaining, both songs feel truly feel like an event or a festival in my ears. I actually prefer Tiger Inside over 100 although I always liked and defended the later. I’m pretty excited to what they’ll release next month.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like NCT covering an old long lost Exo song, which is to say, hey it’s pretty good. Way better than Jopping which most of us just seem to conveniently forget it exists.

    The fact that these guys have so much experience is demonstrated from the very first lines when Mark just tears into it and owns it. Shed loads of confidence there. As a bunch of us have come here from the I-land posting, it is abundantly evident what experience and confidence do for a performance. Also, talent, yes.

    Taeyong’s growling part, I have a feeling he spent the better part of a day in the studio on those ten seconds to try to get the tiger growl down, and its almost there. Almost.

    Yeah, I dig it. Rating, probably about right.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The growls and english made me laugh at some parts, but that’s not a bad thing. Also funny that Baek and Kai got to be wolves (talk about a SM song that makes me laugh) and now they’ve become tigers.

    All in all, I appreciate that the chorus is more melodic. I’ll listen to a bit more and see if it sticks with me.

    Also it’s too bad they didn’t get to go outside of the SM box for this one, especially with the tiger concept. Where are the jungles?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no idea why but from my first listen the “oooh’s” just after 2:00 reminded me of Mamamoo singing their own name in that cutesy acapella way (Mah-Mah-Moo), and now I can’t unhear it. I also can’t listen to the Korean word for tiger without thinking of Hoshi’s (SVT) tiger obsession. I guess that’s the multifan in me, unable to remove other kpop references from my brain. It makes this song a weird yet amusing experience. Yet even if my brain did not make these strange connections, musically I still prefer 100. Although I have to say I love the outfits for this one.

    I think much like several NCT 127 title tracks this one will grow on me slowly. Someone once related this 127-title track effect to moss; it grows slowly but eventually takes over. Personally, I have often found it to be a pretty apt metaphor when it comes to music like this. I mean I still remember wondering if Simon Says even qualified as a song upon my first listen, but now its one of my favorites, so who knows.


  6. wait I just realized the “ooh’s” after 2:00 sound like a Halloween version of the ones from Got7’s Just Right. Damn my brain, literally 5 seconds of this song is clouding my entire perception of it.


  7. Yeah, I am definitely missing that ‘melodic diversity’ as you call it. I can appreciate the performances here and I like certain parts, but overall I don’t enjoy listening to this. I prefer 100 and will gladly die on that hill with you.


  8. It’s certainly no Jopping but at least it’s better than 100. I also really like the melodic strangeness in parts of the song.. the chords they chose are actually interesting.
    I like the prechorus, am okay with the chorus, and despise the postchorus. Someone tell SM that Taeyong is actually a shit rapper, and that maybe they should use Lucas instead, since his voice is actually deep (and he actually has flow sometimes) instead of forced vocal fry like Taeyong’s.
    Overall a 6/10, kind of average but a step in the right direction.


  9. For such a “westernised” and “robotic” group, especially since they are meant to capture the western market, their discography is so authentic!


    • The fact that they have such a good track record, certainly better than a lot of kpop groups’ entire 5y+ discography is pretty funny to me. Although they do have a major label (with great composers under their wing) to pump out those hits.

      Liked by 1 person

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