After a week devoid of new releases, attention turns to Japan as Monsta X drop their music video for new J-pop single Wanted. Like their Korean career, the group’s Japanese output has been quite prolific. And, their characteristic sound has translated to the new market without many changes. Wanted continues that brand and acts as a solid – if not spectacular – addition to their discography.
This isn’t a critique of Monsta X specifically, but I hope we can claw out of this rut where every boy group release feels like the soundtrack for battle preparations. I’m really tiring of this same sound palette, built upon hulking EDM elements, brassy distortion, and furious percussion. NCT’s upcoming J-pop single seems like it will be more of the same, and it makes me wonder how great these tracks might sound if given a sonic makeover that incorporates textures we haven’t heard over and over again.
In Wanted’s case, this production is countered by a welcome sense of propulsion that keeps the track afloat. I especially appreciate the heavy kick in the chorus. It’s nice to hear a song pound forward rather than lurch back and forth as if uncertain of its own power. Moments of layered vocals lend the verses a nice airy style, and I can hear elements of psytrance in the synth underlining much of the track. However, Wanted could do with a stronger chorus. It’s arranged with enough drama to compensate for its lack of melodic variety, but you know I’m a stickler for fleshed out refrains. Thankfully, Wanted is brisk and exciting throughout. That alone makes it a highlight during this dry week of music.