I swear, there was a time when the idea of “K-pop boy group” didn’t instantly conjure up images of dimly-lit “bad” boys. Or, maybe I’m just looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. After all, Bigbang are one of my all-time favorite idol groups, and they practically built a career on posturing! But the songs themselves didn’t always adopt this attitude, and the performances often had a sense of humor to cut through the self-serious braggadocio. Nowadays, you can hardly look in any direction without seeing a rookie boy group puffing up their chest to some noisy EDM beat.
To be fair, CRAVITY haven’t tackled this concept for every release. In fact, as far as I can tell their music doesn’t really have a concept beyond “hey, you liked us in Produce X 101, right?” And for many listeners, that’s more than enough. If the songs were uniformly stronger, that would be enough for me as well. I guess the positive spin here is that CRAVITY have proven themselves versatile – just as those concept evaluation stages on Produce test idols’ ability to fold into any genre given to them.
Bad Habits is a follow-up single to the dreaded “skrrt skrrt” of January’s My Turn. It’s a more cohesive song, but again feels like generic post-NCT boy group fare. The guys cast off the kind of sing-talk performance perched halfway between rap and melody. Even the chorus is more of a chant. Thankfully, this approach is consistent throughout the entire track, and gives Bad Habits a single-mindedness that feels especially welcome after My Turn’s aural whiplash. The lurching EDM beat has a few nice tricks, especially when the distorted synth comes at us like waves. But as with so many other CRAVITY tracks, Bad Habits feels like something we’ve heard dozens of times already.