I don’t usually write about song covers, but ATEEZ and Halloween seem like too good a match to pass up. Several months ago, they reinvented Turbo’s 90’s hit Black Cat as part of the series Immortal Songs. Now, they’ve recorded a proper studio version and paired it with a big-budget performance video. The result is quite a lot of fun, and offers a glimpse at how awesome a rock-themed ATEEZ comeback could be.
It’s hard to write about a cover without acknowledging the original source material. So, let’s talk about Turbo’s Black Cat. It’s never been a favorite of mine, but that has little to do with the song itself. I run hot and cold on Kim Jongkook’s reedy voice, and Black Cat’s chorus tends to draw out the tones I’m not so keen on. But, I’ve always enjoyed hearing it covered on K-pop’s year-end music extravaganzas. If nothing else, it’s got a great 90’s dance club energy.
Transpose this onto ATEEZ and you’ve got a real contrast. I’ve always considered their tones to be one of their biggest strengths, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more bombastic idol vocalist than Jongho. He gets a chance to stretch his range during Black Cat’s daring finale, but that’s just the cherry on top of an ultra-theatrical cake.
The guys have transformed the track into a little K-pop rock opera. It’s brimming with theatricality, and clearly designed with a performance in mind. Taken apart from the visuals, the second verse tempo change feels a little too protracted. I much prefer the first rap verse, which is made more dynamic by the powerful guitar-shredding instrumental. Elsewhere, spooky synths and church organs dot the musical landscape, urged along by stabs of symphonic fury. It all comes together for a truly blistering climax that improves upon the original.
Now I just need a new-gen group to cover My Childhood Dream, which is my personal favorite Turbo single.