Review

Song Review: ATEEZ – Fireworks (I’m The One)

ATEEZ’s years-long Treasure project remains one of K-pop’s most daring works – exciting, inventive and packed with killer songs. But so far, I’m not feeling the “Fever.” This follow-up project now has two mini albums under its belt. I thought its opening salvo, released last summer, was fine even if it felt more like a holding pattern than an evolution. But now the guys have returned with Fireworks (I’m The One), which is easily their most disappointing single.

The problem is that this track feels like more of the same, minus many of the elements that made their past hits so dynamic. I’m surprised, given that Fireworks is composed by the same team who have steered ATEEZ to such success. But rather than utilize their popularity to push the envelope, the track refashions so many old tropes and throws some truly ugly vocal processing over the top.

I’m not sure I can adequately state how much I dislike the effects slathered over many of the vocals here. This approach never really bothered me on past ATEEZ tracks, but it’s pushed to the extreme here and Fireworks suffers greatly from it. The verses are the main victim of this effect. They crawl to a slow broil, without much in the way of melodic interest to make them dynamic or fresh. The chorus is a bit stronger, though its chant-heavy nature doesn’t hold any surprises. The instrumental during these moments is unnecessarily busy, but none of its elements stand out as defining or memorable. Honestly, it’s just kind of noisy and obnoxious, without the inventive structure or exciting build I’d expect from an ATEEZ title track. What a bummer.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

69 thoughts on “Song Review: ATEEZ – Fireworks (I’m The One)

  1. Completely agree. I’m losing my mind over the vocal processing which doesn’t contribute to literally anything. Imagine putting autotune on Jongho and Seonghwa…Why, oh why?!

    Really surprised they picked this as a title, especially after so many good songs.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I genuinely do believe that I’m The One is one of the best songs on the album, and when a song like that is getting labeled as such, you know the album is bad.

      Celebrate and Time Of Love are just the normal boy group fluff…..
      and The Leaders is just super tinny and unpleasing to listen to….
      Take Me Home sounds brilliant though! I really hope the guys would take that as the title track!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, it is one of the best on the album. I’ll end up enjoying it more because there is still some ATEEZ… idk, flavor to it, but they can do SO much better. Maybe the time has come for Hongjoong to be given the lead for producing a title. That could be interesting.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What exactly does Hongjoongs height have to do with making music? Nothing, it has zero to do with making music. This album is great, I enjoy every single song on it. They worked hard on it and are proud of their work.
        Also the “boy band fluff” such as celebrate has a wonderful meaning to Atiny. It’s not fluff it’s message of care and joy.

        You are totally aloud to not like the album I get that, I support that people have different things they like or dislike. But seriously, there is no reason to bring non musical elements into an analysis on music…

        Like

          • Lol, I was just browsing through all the comments, trying to see if anyone mentioned Hongjoong’s height.

            (So I checked for the sake of it, Hongjoong is 5’8″. But that is basically useless info). Really though, Hongjoong should start producing more. He is Eden’s student and is basically the unofficial 5th member of Edenary. As Grace pointed out, Eden needs a break Commercial music writing is never a good idea. Although I never release songs commercially, I write piano songs just for myself a lot of times, and it takes months to make a good song. You can’t write so many songs within a few months. That is why I think Edenary needs to split songs on albums, or get more support from the ATEEZ and other group members.

            Like

        • I am a fan of ATEEZ, and If i wanted something which was “special for the fans”, I think I wouldn’t prefer subdued, autotuned fluff.

          Like

  2. Ugh…I really dislike this track.

    Considering how amazing their past title tracks were, this just feels too noisy and obnoxious. I really hope they have something better for their next title track, Edenary and ATEEZ, please don’t fail me yet!

    Can I also point out one thing which made this more annoying? The fact we had to endure through so many annoying concept photos, ATEEZ normally deliver great songs so the photos aren’t much of a problem, but I’m The One is just….ugly, non-cohesive and just downright cruel to listen to. It feels really disappointing and my day is ruined!

    The reason why I am being so harsh is because I love the guys and their music, ATEEZ’s energy is certainly “One Of A Kind”, and it feels just super disappointing seeing that exact energy getting transformed into whatever the fuck “I’m The One” is.

    I just want ATEEZ to evolve their sound even more, Into new sounds. Rather than just the same old hip-hop bluster, I feel as if they should channel their creativity and churn out amazing songs! Dreamcatcher has a much more unique sound, and I wish ATEEZ would follow pursuit.

    Edenary was literally slathered a big bucketload of autotune into their fists and started punching the song with it……I love both of them, and this seems like such a big pitfall.

    Will Take Me Home be buried treasure? It sounds fantastic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It feels like I’m The One is more of a performance showcase rather than an actual song….. Everything seems to focus on how iCoNic The dance, with no heed to the actual songcraft. Greatly disappointed…

      Liked by 1 person

      • So much about kpop these days is about the performance and posturing and not about the music, as I frequently lament. Welcome to the lamentation club.

        Also, the merchandising.

        Liked by 3 people

        • To Me, ATEEZ had always gave great performances but the music was always A+, songs like Wave, Utopia, Wonderland never damaged the guys performance, but only showcased it.

          I’m The One is just bluster…..no big vocal moments, no cohesiveness, no sense of adventure. Just them bragging about how sober they are, and how the others are drunk…..I really am dissatisfied.

          Like

      • This new “Fever” sound isn’t doing for me, It feels like the generic boy group makeover sound. I really hope the next mini album really kicks gear, we need more songs like Wonderland, Wave and Utopia….. I just hope ATEEZ don’t blend into their peers! DON’T!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Guessed right this time 😉

    I love this, vocal processing included, and love the album. À chacun son goût. Cool on the English version of Take Me Home/English added remix of Fireworks but not mad at them. Fireworks as a track + the MV felt like one big homage to a certain kind of 2014-2016 kpop…between the sound, choreo, and the MV aesthetics there were elements of BTS’s Fire, Idol, and Not Today, and Taeyang’s Ringa Linga. Also the background adlibs were great.

    Take Me Home gives an Ateez twist to the retro synthwave trend. I’m guessing you’ll like it and it might be the buried treasure for this album? The ending is particularly satisfying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes – Idol! I’m not the only one who heard that. I’m not sure what I think about the song yet, but I kept seeing the dance moves from Idol in my mind.

      Like

      • The “bulnoriya” parts sound similar to the chants in the Idol chorus. They also do the gwara gwara which I think Idol really made popular in kpop (and I think some people think BTS’s choreographers came up with but…they did not lol).

        There are so many things that hark back to BTS I have to think it’s intentional.

        Like

  4. Completely agree. Honestly this is easily my least favorite title from them so far, and really the only one i dislike. It makes me a bit sad since theyre my ult group and im usually obsessed with most the stuff they release, but i figured they were bound to make a song that wasnt my taste one day or another. I really liked take me home though, which kinda makes up for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I actually enjoy this? Like it’s not their best but I like it more on the initial few listens than I did with Inception (but Inception did grow on me a lot later on).

    Liked by 6 people

    • Zero music knowledge here but I too liked Fireworks better than Inception. The latter was too generic for them and this one at least has that Ateez touch of grandeur/bombast.
      With that being said, I expected so so much more. It’s like someone threw Illusion and Thanxx,both of which happen to be my least favourite songs from Ateez, in a blender and Fireworks came out. Not the good kind.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same way! I’m not an avid ATEEZ listener, and the songs I do like had to grow on me a bit. Maybe because I don’t have much else to compare it with, but I really liked Fireworks on the the first listen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay so I just got the chance to listen to Take Me Home and yep I get the hate now. Because a song like that…i think i got tears in my eyes WHY WHY WHYYY didn’t they use it? I really hope they promote it on music shows!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is just plain mediocrity, and plain obnoxious, typical, K-Pop braggadocio but the guys have it now. It is just utterly saddening and truly disappointing how weirdly concocted this song is.The chorus as many have said is a nutjob, a dynamic flopsidaisy that will never recover. The autotune worsened the song’s already bad songwriting.

    It is just plain mediocrity bad. 5.75/10.

    Check out my review here! https://deforestedmusic.wordpress.com/2021/03/01/track-spotlight-im-the-one-ateez/

    Like

  7. There is something wrong with the vocal processing and/or the mixing for sure. Now I would say that this Fever series is ATEEZ’s stagnation period. They know what they are good at so they follow this path without changing much to their formula. But this strategy only works if your producers are inspired enough to just add the little thing that makes each new track interesting. They had this flute in Say My Name’s verses, the epic Wonderland, even Answer was memorable with its great chorus (especially the final one). This comeback and the last one didn’t have any of it so it feels like ATEEZ doing their usual thing minus the special touch (and plus the bad vocal processing…).

    They are at an early stage of their career so there is nothing to worry about yet. I just hope they’ll find a way to not fall in the Monsta X side of k-pop where they don’t know how to make their signature sound evolve and don’t seem to have a proper artistic evolution.

    However Take Me Home is a pretty good song !

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I LOVED Answer and Inception so much, I hope they won’t abandon those types of sounds that help balance along with the more hip-hop songs.

    This is…kinda a disappointment, I didn’t have a good feeling since the teasers came out.

    (I wish the chorus only has the second part where it’s anthemic and actually hyping, instead of wasting time dropping down in the first half.)

    Like

  9. Easily their most disappointing single unfortunately. Don’t know why they’d pick this as the title track over Take Me Home, but oh well.

    Like

  10. I saw a post somewhere that the members had said that this was going to be their “biggest and grandest” song yet. Now I can’t prove the validity of that statement but if it’s an accurate quote than I have some serious questions about what the ateez members think grand is. One word that comes to mind when listening to it is “chugging”. The song seems to barely drag itself, sludging through the beat but never building any momentum that carries it forward to Ateez’s famous grand climaxes. I hated it on first listen but it’s becoming more tolerable as I force myself to listen to it again and the bridge isn’t that bad, if I’m honest, but definitely not going to be added to my playlist (that is considerably smaller thanks to the Kpop purge on Spotify). I wasn’t expecting much after the dance teaser but this really is a let down. It’s like a stray kids B-side got the life sucked out of it.
    Take Me Home on the other hand is a whole ass bop. That sax at the end is just *chef’s kiss*

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I don’t know. It usually takes me a few listens to enjoy an Ateez song. I remember the first time I heard an Ateez song, I was put off a bit at first, but I was impressed by how unique it sounded, which kept me listening. This song did not strike me that way. My first response was disappointment, but I may well still end up liking it a lot. Also, during the chorus I kept imagining them doing all the dance moves from BTS’s Idol chorus.

    Like

  12. I haven’t like Fever as much as Treasure, but I still really enjoyed this. To be honest, I didn’t even register the processing until it was pointed out here. It’s not the worst I’ve heard even though they definitely could (and probably should) have backed off on it. I think it kind of suits the mood of the song. The verses are the weakest of any of their singles so I’d rank them a 7. But Mingi’s and Hongjoong’s raps are incredible, & Hongjoong’s especially I want to say is the best performance of his career. The chorus and post-chorus are a 10 for me. The post-chorus is a party. This really doesn’t sound noisy to me compared to some Monsta X, NCT, and Stray Kids songs (I can’t listen to God’s Menu because it’s so loud and noisy). The transition into the bridge is pretty weak, but the bridge itself has a nice build. I like the harmonies here and Jongho’s ascending high note in the back of the mix. The song has some great moments and weak moments so overall I think it’s an 8.25.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Has anyone noticed what this “Fever” series has been missing? some truly epic ATEEZ segments.

    Remember those anthemic pre-choruses?
    Those epic bridges?
    Remember when ATEEZ songs used to take a whole different form in the endings? Utopia, Wonderland, Wave, WIN, Horizon, Answer etc. All of them switched melodies and instrumentals which gave a satisfying sense of growth!

    What is happening like that in “Fever”? I really hope we get some ambitious projects later…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting how their massive surge in popularity in Korea last year and this year has correlated with worse releases. Maybe it’s a coincidence but it’s possible the pressure to live up to their past successes and capitalize on their moment in the spotlight is catching up with their producers and creative team? They’re playing it too safe and trendy, moving away from those epic climaxes you mentioned. Also I think as Ateez is being recognize for their performance, the song is being pushed to the back to make way for the dance. Only one can shine at a time, it seems

      Like

      • People are probably sick of hearing me talk about this, but I think the international success also has a lot to do with it.

        It’s as if they’re trying to do what they *think* international fans want. I feel like so many boy groups who become popular internationally travel down this same road. But, I think international fans have far more diverse tastes than the companies give them credit for.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I don’t think this is right in Ateez’s case, one because they were successful internationally pretty much right away, so why mess with what’s working? But also I wouldn’t call either of their previous two titles particularly in line with global pop trends. (Though if there’s contemporary Western pop that sounds like Answer or even Inception—which grew on me but is probably my least favorite title of theirs—I’ll happily be pointed in that direction!)

          Liked by 1 person

          • In this case, I’m not talking about western trends. It’s more that boy groups with their eyes on a Western audience seem to be stuck in this mold of what their agency thinks westerners expect of a male K-pop track.

            Edgy concept
            Noisy, percussive instrumental
            Chanted hooks
            LOTS of badass posturing

            There are exceptions, of course, but it seems like most of the boy groups who have found substantial success in western markets are opting for this style, trends be damned. Whereas those groups who more-closely target the Korean market (or other East Asian markets) tend to deliver a more diverse set of sounds. I could be totally off on this, but it’s been my observation as I’ve seen various groups take off in the West. I just think the K-pop industry as a whole is undervaluing the capacity for global audiences to embrace a variety of concepts and styles. ATEEZ’s team seemed to understand this up until Fever. Now it feels like they’re beginning to repeat themselves, with diminishing returns — at least creatively.

            Liked by 2 people

              • True. Wasn’t meaning this to be directed at Inception. I’ve just noticed a trend in these aspects over the past year or so from internationally popular groups like NCT, Stray Kids, ONEUS, Victon, Treasure, etc.

                That’s not to say that all the songs are bad, but it’s hard not to be disappointed when the albums are so much more diverse and interesting than the singles — which are starting to feel a little cookie-cutter in many cases.

                Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Nick. Normally I’m inclined to agree with this, but do you think the fact that Take Me Home is the only track on the album with an English version suggests that they are actually planning to market that to the so called “Western audience” a la Loona’s Voice/Star?

              Like

        • I do think, though, that as good as Eden being the main producer has been for Ateez developing a distinctive niche, the man might be a bit stretched thin. He was on Ravi’s radio show a few months ago and honestly I came away a bit worried for him? He sounded exhausted and like he was putting him under a lot of pressure as the one responsible for Ateez’s sound to do something new, the best, etc. I am also interested in seeing what would come of Hongjoong taking more of a lead on producing.

          I’ve listened to the album a few times now and…I think there’s more going on than the folks who don’t like it are hearing. One of my favorite things about Ateez’s music is that it rewards multiple listens and this album is squarely in line with that for me. Fireworks specifically is a kind of strange chimera of a song. It’s heavily RnB influenced but the trap and party track elements can overwhelm that on first listen. And the autotune is really only heavy on a few lines.

          Liked by 2 people

  14. Personally I find that they fell for the same thing that Oneus did, I really liked the instrumental, but I just like noisier songs in general. Which is why I really enjoyed Oneus’ No Diggity, because it had easily identifiable vocals on top of a relatively noisy track. This one I think the overtuned vocals just becomes part of the song and I’m just listening to an instrumental. Overall for the instrumental itself, I’d give it an 8.5,but for the singing, 6, I want to know what the song would’ve sounded like without the audio editing, because if there was a mix called “pure mix” or something without the voice editing, this song would be an 8.5 for me, but I agree with your current score. I am The B and Tomoon tho,so I may also have some bias.

    Like

    • Trust me, you clearly have no bias in this situation. ATEEZ throw in some unbearable phrases and a bunch of autotune which mixes horribly onto the song. No Diggity had a rock guitar which acted as a backbone, double time-climax and an over-the-top pre-chorus which made use of two potent melodies. I’m The One is just loud and noisy with no sense of song direction.

      Like

  15. It’s the vocal processing during the verses that I dislike. When there isn’t vocal processing (the first part of the bridge) it sounds wonderful. I don’t mind the processing during the chorus because it sounds like it belongs there.

    The album as a whole ISNT strong imo. Fever part 1 was far more cohesive (despite the cringey opening voiceover intro song).

    However, I don’t mind leader as much as others do. It’s a good hype song. Vocal processing here suits it much more than title track. My favorite song on whole album is take me home! Such nice vocals and message.

    Like

  16. The only thing that works in this song is Idol (that wasn’t a masterpiece itself, indeed).
    I dream a world where Ateez – maybe next time – are brave enough to pick up Take Me Home as a title track instead.

    Like

  17. Oh wow i didn’t expect your rating to be so low 😦

    For me though, I’m pretty satisfied with the result. Definitely not near their best though.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. For me I think it’s fine, definitely not as bad as people are making it out to be. They definitely should’ve cut back on the vocal processing for Yunho and Seonghwa but other than that, it sounds pretty good. And that post chorus is absolutely exhilarating.

    As for the rest of the mini, I really like it. Take me home is the standout with its killer saxophone outro. Celebrate and time of love went straight into my atiny heart and I certainly don’t dislike the leaders as much as I do to the beat.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yikes… The song on its own, and as a concept, isn’t bad – nothing special, but nothing terrible, either. But that (degree of) vocal processing is just… I hate when EXO did it on “Lotto,” I hate when BigHit insists on using it… Even for subpar vocalists, there’s no excuse doing them /this/ dirty – and when you have fine or even great ones, why are you insisting on sabotaging them…? That’s what it feels like, frankly – sabotage. This song isn’t amazing but it would have been just fine without those vocal effects. Honestly, the song is so fine, and nothing more, on its own that I suspect they were just like, “Well, we have to make it stand out somehow!” and chose really heinous vocal processing.

    Like

  20. I don’t know that much about latin american music, so I could be totally wrong here. But… at my old job, the guys were always playing it on the radio. When I heard the opening and the chorus I felt like I had for sure heard it before and actually felt a little worried for Ateez that someone might point out just how much it sounds like something that already exists.. Even if it isnt similar to a specific song, idk it made me cringe :/ I know that cultural appropriation is an inextricable part of kpop, and this is hardly the worst, but for some reason this made me feel embarrassed

    Like

  21. Seeing their live stage really shows how good the song could’ve been without the voice tuning, and I would rather hear them live than listen to the studio version now…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I really miss the Treasure series. It bore out such great title tracks. Almost this whole album has a ton autotune thrown on it it kinda sounds unpleasant. Agreed, this is the most disappointing ATEEZ title track. I honestly can’t recall the song at all except the shout-a-thon chorus.

    Btw, is anyone else reminded of Dreamcatcher Scream’s chorus after that “bulnoriya”. My mind always continues to that line every single time.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Nice (well, sort of) to see that I’m far from the only one who was significantly disappointed with this title track. The speed rap parts in Fireworks are good, but the verses are otherwise too slow and too musically sparse with too short of lines, and the heavy autotune is truly obnoxious. Even Jongho got autotuned, and he’s an elite vocalist. That’s madness. The expansive sound I love from them is missing, and the lyrics aren’t that creative, either, compared to their previous stuff. To top it all off, the MV had nothing to do with Inception’s MV. I wanted to see what happens next, but they just threw it out the window and gave us a bunch of generic fire-related imagery, instead. …Wut? Why? I don’t get it.

    For that matter, the only song on the whole album that I really like is Take Me Home, which is great and easily could’ve been the title track. The Leaders outright made my brain hurt, it was so overprocessed. Wondering if maybe Leez and Ollounder had less input this time around. They never miss with Dreamcatcher’s music, so I suspect that this mess was more of Eden’s idea. Hoping they reverse course and regain their unique sound next time.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.