Review

Song Review: T1419 – Asurabalbalta

Before we get into Asurabalbalta (아수라발발타) itself, can we all just agree on T1419 being a horrible name for a K-pop group? I mean, I know the market is oversaturated, but there are plenty of words that are still available. T1419 feels like it was cobbled together by the periodic table. But then again, this new group hails from the same agency as Momoland, so I guess expected a decent moniker was probably asking for too much. The guys previously teased us with last year’s Dracula, which made little impact. Asurabalbalta is even noisier.

I have a soft spot for rookie groups, and always want to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s often the case that a great act spawns from a lousy debut track, and I hope that will be T1419’s fate. But if Asurabalbalta is any indication, they’ve got a ways to go. Similar to Victon’s comeback today, Asurabalbalta is all bluster. The guys shout and swagger over a lurching thunderclap of an instrumental, anchored by a burbling beat drop, police sirens and clunky stomps of percussion. It’s a sputtering mess, and leaves little impact despite its desire to clobber you over the head at every turn.

The thing is, when you’re this loud all the time, that constant volume loses all its impact. A more dynamic song would have built to its most exciting peaks with a sense of intention, drawing contrast to make best use of its aural firepower. Asurabalbalta feels clumsy in its execution, bumbling down the street yelling at every listener it passes. There’s no real hook to be found beyond an aggrieved repetition of its title, and I’m left with no sense of what makes this group special or interesting.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.25

19 thoughts on “Song Review: T1419 – Asurabalbalta

  1. Was it their intention to sound like the latest permutation of the NCT club? Sirens, check. Spitfire rap heavy, check. Brittle, acidic synths, check. What it lacks from fully sounded like an NCT is the quality vocals to lighten up the mix. (Ten!) I also listened to the other song they promoted on the canned “showcase”, a charmer called “Butt out”. I’ll be blunt: for me, for my taste, for what I know about the current state of the kpop marketplace, I don’t see this as a strong debut. Maybe they have a secret stash of stans online or something but based upon this, I don’t see a lot of good happening.

    I have no idea how to pronounce the name. Tee-fourteen-nineteen? Tee-one-four-one-nine? Talifornia? (hey, somehow 2NE1 is twenee one) This old git here was reminded of old computer names, such as the TRS80, or the old Intl processes the 286 386 486. Is it a Tron thing a missed? I don’t know, and frankly don’t care.

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  2. I genuinely thought that this January was going to be good…. I just hope the retro trend doesn’t lose, first victon, then T1419 and finally Oneus’s awful teaser clips…. I am hoping that 2021 doesn’t fail me, I have been hyping it too much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that Victon did not live up to my expectations, but I am still holding hope for Oneus. I actually do not mind the teaser clips too much. But it is a gamble showing the song could either be really interesting, or a disaster. Hope its the former! Plus Hwanwoong has a flame thrower in his teaser clip. I will click on the music video just to see that.

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  3. Replying to your Twitter question Nick. I would say the last unique and interesting Korean boy group single would be ACE’s Favorite Boys and E’Last’s Swear. Both did interesting things, and both were underappreciated for that.

    Of course, ONF’s New World too if you count it as a single.

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    • Checked out the E’Last song and I have to agree. It’s a nice concept too, very pretty. I’ll think of this one whenever the need to complain about edgy boy groups gets me again ^^

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    • I don’t tweet. Here is my answer for the boys kpop.

      First all, Lucy Snooze, if a band can be called kpop.

      Second, MCND “Ice Age”. I don’t need to a reason why for this.

      I might add Stray Kids had a good run of unique sounds in 2020. “Any” gets better with every listen. (any) Back Door (any) and God’s Menu (any) had novel instrumentals and theming which leant themselves to some interesting choreo moves and formations.

      NCT__ “Bruce Lee”, as the subject matter is pretty unique. … It isn’t called Bruce Lee but it should have been.
      .
      SF9’s “Summer Breeze” had a refreshing use of movie western and Ennio Morricone motifs.

      MONT “Anti-Hero” showed once again that they are the only real punks in kpop. The song composition itself isn’t novel, but the way its delivered and the video, its all happily blissfully underproduced, delightfully shaggy. Rock on boys! I know who I want to have a beer with in kpop. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14_ui3p95rk

      Honorable mention to Donghae of Super Junior for releasing a full-on gospel song “Harmony”, which hit Gaon #1 for a week because I think every holy person in Korea bought a copy.

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        • I don’t have a song which is refreshing….but I have a song which would’ve been refreshing if it never followed the generic route, and that would be CIX’s Jungle.

          Also, I think I have tracked the trend of 2021, It’s not going to be Retro, possibly lumbering shouty songs with no melody on to them, because there is absolutely no retro here, during the first weeks of 2021….why?

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      • I agree that Stray kids had some unique songs recently. Even though they are my ult group, I would not say that they were the best songs ever. However, the songs gave way to memorable concepts and choreo that boosted their popularity tremendously. I also believe that stray kids handle processed vocals in a good way (example: Any).

        Sf9’s summer breeze was certainly a unique concept. It was not at the top of my playlist, but I always appreciated how much the concept made them stand out at the time. It grew on me a lot over time.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey, looks like NCT 127’s sound is being copied by nugus. Now this is a sign of impact more than anything! Unfortunately the mixing, autotune choices and SFX make this sound less like Chain and more like Punch.

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  5. Oh dear. I only made it through the first minute before I had to take a break. The muddy instrumental that sometimes appears in the verses is not my favorite. The one that goes dun dun dun dun in the background or almost like a car accelerating. I also dislike the use of vocal processing on this one.

    The song is at its best to me when it is just the vocals. I feel like the vocals are drowned out by the weird background effects. I honestly want to strip it of all the muddy background noise and see what it would sound like. I think the group has potential- but they just did not make themselves stand out too much.

    I agree with others in the comments in that it feels like they remind me of other groups. MCND with the rapping and NCT with the vibe they give off. Here is to hoping that their next comeback gives them an unique edge.

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  6. Oh from seeing these comments, am I the only one who genuinely liked this song? My favorite part of the song was those “acidic synths” in the background (I’m not sure what to call them). Yes, the swagger was half-baked but I didn’t mind that too much.

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    • Honestly, although I didn’t like the background synths at first- they actually grew on me as the catchy part of the song. I don’t DISLIKE the song actually. But the concept isn’t really fresh or draws me in too much. However, I’ll probably check out their b sides before letting this group fly under my radar. Glad you liked the song!

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