I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m baffled by Top Media’s plans for UP10TION. The group has two members who gained huge popularity through Produce X 101 and could inject some life into this struggling brand, yet the agency has pulled them away for solo work while having the rest of the guys continue to promote under the UP10TION name. This group is ripe for revitalization, while still allowing for solo releases from Wooseok and Jinhyuk. I can only assume there are behind-the-scenes machinations going on, because from a financial perspective this just doesn’t make sense.
Anyway, the seven-member iteration of UP10TION made their first comeback just over a year ago. They’re back with Light, which ironically sounds like a spiritual successor to X1’s Flash. It makes some great moves, but is hampered by an underwhelming chorus that upends the groove. For much of Light’s first verse, the track harnesses a similar energy to the group’s standout 2017 hit Going Crazy. The production has more of a house base, augmented by bright splashes of synth and injections of rhythm guitar. It’s a promising start, even if the general sound is something we’ve heard many times before.
As we enter Light’s pre-chorus, the synth becomes more prominent and the tempo begins to sputter. This launches into a lurching chorus, where percussion acts as exclamation points instead of a steady drive. I’ve never been a fan of this approach, though I’m happy to hear resonant synth textures in place of more common K-pop tropes. However, the halting structure doesn’t allow for much of a hook. The chorus is vaguely melodic, but comes across as sing-shouting rather than a fully-developed refrain. I’m sure it’ll look great on stage. As a song, it feels like there’s a big chunk missing.