Last we heard from boy group D-CRUNCH, they were crunching our ears with the aggressive Pierrot. That song didn’t do much to differentiate them from the pack, but they’ve stuck to their guns with the almost-as-noisy Across The Universe (비상(飛上)). This track brings stronger textures to the table, but reinforces an exhausting trend that’s affected too many boy group comebacks over the past few years.
There’s this specific musical element that runs through almost all of these comebacks, and can be heard most clearly in Across The Universe’s chorus. I’m not sure exactly what to call it except for “stomping electronic distortion,” but I’ve grown tired of hearing this pummeling sound pop up in otherwise strong tracks. Its presence marred much of GHOST9’s debut (which I’ve grown to appreciate despite its instrumental), and formed the backbone to VERIVERY’s G.B.T.B (which I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy). It’s not that this element is inherently bad – it’s just that these songs could become spectacular if they embraced more uncommon instrumental flourishes.
Anyway… despite its blustering production, there are parts of Across The Universe that I like quite a bit. The central chant is addictive and anthemic, and draws upon the guys’ vocals in a way that many of their title tracks don’t. The song’s pre-chorus is also a highlight, as dramatic percussion fires through a cascade of synth droplets. I desperately want Universe to lean into more organic drum beats — something with resonance and reverberation rather than the canned EDM touches the producers give us. Still, Across The Universe sounds like an excerpt from some imaginary K-pop Battle Royale musical, which could never be entirely bad.