Rookies MCND quickly established their sound in 2020 – a playful blend of energetic hip-hop and trendier boy group tropes. Their music was at its best when it embraced its inherent goofiness (Ice Age remains a guilty pleasure), and new single Crush (우당탕) returns to that tone. The song is more of an extension than an upgrade, but it’s still pretty fun.
Crush grooves on an upbeat, funky instrumental. Its chosen loops and samples sit firmly within today’s trends, but the instrumental finds a satisfying rhythm that keeps the excitement high. Most of the track feels highly indebted to NCT’s work. There are parts that sound almost identical to Make A Wish or Boss. And from a commercial standpoint, you can hardly blame Top Media for wanting to indulge in a piece of that money-making pie.
But, what I appreciate about Crush (and MCND in general) is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The chorus has an exaggerated – almost comical – delivery that accentuates the group’s youth and feels in keeping with the boisterous production. A taunting guitar loop compliments this mischievous sound, while the insistent snare ensures a certain level of rhythmic consistency. The entire thing ends just where you’d expect it to: a rousing, chant-along finale. As with most of the track, I think more inventive things could have been done here. But, at least Crush has something to build toward. And though I don’t think the song will become as big a grower as Ice Age, its light-on-its-feet delivery and engaging spirit warrant a slightly higher rating.