Upon first hearing GHOST9’s debut track Think of Dawn, I was disappointed that they seemed to be opting for a heavy, lumbering sound that had already been done to death. But in the context of the album, the song began to make sense and eventually grew into a 2020 highlight. This is the importance of a consistent production team. So far, nearly all of the group’s work has been crafted by the same few composers, which gives it a viewpoint of its own – even if the songs still kowtow to a few overused trends.
New single W.ALL is the same way. In some aspects, it’s a big improvement over Think of Dawn. In others, it’s even more frustrating. I guess we chalk this up to rookie growing pains, and choose to focus on the moments that show incredible potential.
With that in mind, let’s start with the undisputed highlight. W.ALL’s chorus is immense, and immensely satisfying. It pounds forward with great drive, tethering an anthemic hook to a propulsive electronic backbone. It’s one of the best refrains that GHOST9 have found yet. Unfortunately, it’s preceded by a lumbering shout-a-thon, which brings the flow of the track to a screeching halt. This pre-chorus sounds more comfortable with each listen, but still feels like a missed opportunity. The same could be said about the second verse, which predictably pulls back on the energy in favor of an aimless breakdown that goes nowhere.
Fortunately, that megawatt chorus is lurking just around the corner. It’s odd that W.ALL jettisons its second repetition entirely, choosing instead to move into the bridge before delivering its rousing finale. I think I would have thrown in another chorus for good measure, especially since it’s the song’s greatest asset. But in the end, GHOST9’s strong vocals and adventurous spirit carry the day, making this a late-2020 highlight despite its flaws. They are definitely rookies to watch in 2021.
On the plus side, their agency is spending big bucks on promotion. Not only a full produced video, but also a rooftop showcase with lots of video screens and pyrotechnics going. Daytime practice (released as the “spoiler”) and nighttime versions. And then there is a b-side upscale choreo video too “큰물에서 놀아” (I don’t know what this song is in English).
I also felt and heard that ker-lunk that the second verse low gear shift did, like a person learning stick shift downshifting and making all the passengers brace against their seat belts which catch.
This was a pretty quick comeback from their October debut, so that is notable too. Alas, for me, this is an upscale, well produced boy band dark concept circa about spring of this year.
“Think of Dawn” grew on me quite a bit, even if I still sing along to the main chorus line as “Dig of Dug” (because that is what it sounds like). (There used to be a video game called “Dig Dug” back when, like a Pacman maze game but digging dirt underground.)
“Reborn” b-side from their October release is fire for me, possibly in my top 20 for the year. It also had an upscale choreo video.
Eh. I’m disappointed. I don’t think this ever really overcomes the jarring loss of momentum. ‘Think of Dawn’ really grabbed me with the chord progression, but this does nothing of the sort.
Out of all of the upcoming December releases this month, I was the most excited about Ghost9’s first comeback, The Teasers had confused me alot but I hoped for the parts to be summed up into something special. And After hearing the whole song, I am not sure how to feel about W.all.
W.all has all the necessary elements to forge a beast of a song but due to its inconsistencies, Its Overall Impact feels more blunt than It was supposed to be. That’s down to its obnoxious chanting and It’s lumbering Instrumental which totally ruins any momentum the song could have really offered.
But thankfully, W.all‘s positives outweighs Its negatives by a long shot, The Pre-chorus takes their fresh vocal tones and uses them for an airy feeling. The Song offers an exciting, Sweeping Electro-club Instrumental, making the skittering beats feel even more pointless! W.all‘s even offers an immense sledgehammer hook which powers the post-chorus and The Overwhelming Climax!
Overall, the best compliment I could give to W.all is how It continues the Cinematic Sound Ghost9 sought for and I can really see it grow more dynamic with more listens. Because that’s what happened with Ateez’s Say My Name 2 years ago and I really see potential for what Ghost9 will offer in the table.
MY RATING IS 8.75
I like BLSSD but I really hope Sweetune also partners with Woollim soon
These days I’m often left wondering at the sense of rhythm, let’s say, of K-pop producers.
In this case, for instance, what’s the point of that great pre pre-chorus when it’s not directly preceding the actual chorus? I mean, the ‘lumbering shout-a-thon’ feels like a fitting element of the song, but it’s completely misplaced between the two sung parts. I switched it, rather crudely, in an audio tool to be placed before either, and in my opinion the result flows a lot better. But at least they did a very nice transition from it to the chorus. What’s harder to get comfortable with is the lack of a second repetition, as you said.
Anyways, the chorus is indeed the most interesting thing I’ve heard in months. A perfectly timed comeback for testing the new screen and speakers. 😜 I’m guessing this will be at least close to the top 10 in the year’s end list.
We’ll have to see, but unfortunately the eligibility for this year’s list ended on Nov. 30th. I always cut it off at the end of November so that I can have time to cobble everything together for a mid-December unveil 🙂
Oh, scheiße. Forgot about that.
I decided to look up scheiße , and I went to images and the worst part was that I was eating a brownie…..
I am impressed you have that B = double S character so easily available. Das ist wu:nderbar! Ich habe das nicht. Ich muss auch ein : fu:r einen Umlaut verwenden. Scheisse.
This track definitely has its moments, I just wish the producers would end the trend chasing so that the better moments stood out more.
My thoughts about so many K-pop title tracks this year
Even some of the best songs this year in K-Pop had their fair share of faults 😦
But their were some real good tracks in the second half (post June, really). I mean, this December is on course to be stronger than April/May!
Also Nick, I think the lumbering section is the first phase of the chorus, and the section prior to that is the pre-chorus. But really, terminology definitions never really matter.
I was pondering as well. I *think* it is a two part chorus, with “I’m a WALL” part is the first half, and the second half is the more awesome one.
I’m a WALLLLLLLL!
I think you’re probably both right, but there’s no way in good faith I’m calling “I’m the WALLLL!!!!” a “chorus” on this blog. Uh-uh. Not happening.
(that part is kind of growing on me, tho…)
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For me, that part is falling. I just wrote my review (will publish it tomorrow), and I so think the score would be much higher without the “i’m the wall!!!” segment.
And if you are wondering why it is in lower case, because that is how I felt that segment.
If I can barge in your barging in (😁) my brain has been telling me all this time that “I’m a WALL” and what comes before are actually a two part *pre-chorus.*
Good God I was scared that was gonna be the actual chorus, and the teaser was just sampling the end of the song. I had Treas… I mean war flashbacks for a second.
Oh, and also, here is my review of the track for those interested 🙂
Can I point why the chorus is lumbering? and the messy instrumental arrangement? It is because of the horrendous mixing they gave this track. One of the worst mixing I’ve ever heard. It is very clipped and there is no dynamics in the wallowing hollow sound that mostly is +3db that is why it is lumbering. This is so disappointing as this song is an easy 9/10 for me without the mixing/mastering issues. The also weird thing is the awkward Maroo style shout-a-thon that really is evident in all of their artists. But I love the song for this.
Oooh, that chorus are just full-on energy injection. I have a feeling they’re gonna end up making at least one masterpiece in their group life if they keep making the theatrical style songs like their releases have been so far.
Also , Ghost9 reminds me so much of (my made up) group CLRS.
That Anthemic reminds me so much of The Watcher (please do not judge me)