3YE have released a variety of different title tracks, and each has drawn upon edgier sounds than many girl groups tackle. I think the trio are at their best when given an insistent electro groove, such as last year’s Queen. New single Stalker replicates this charm in bits and pieces, and is at its strongest when it doesn’t take its (third) eye off the ball.
Stalker has a lot going on. I love some of its ideas, while others feel forced in an effort to please modern tastes – or at least K-pop’s idea of modern tastes. We open with a catchy, sing-song vocal riff, which had me worried. Hooks like this can easily wear thin, and I’m glad its use was kept to a minimum. Instead, the opening verse glides along thumping electro bass before moving into a bombastic pre-chorus that feels like a rallying cry. Everything is going swimmingly so far, but my experience with K-pop has me bracing for a noise EDM drop.
Thankfully, Stalker moves into a satisfying chorus. I love the melody here. It feels effortlessly cool. But, the song should have stopped morphing at this point. What follows is a noisy, trap-infused post-chorus that feels at odds with everything that came before. The production here is jarring, and comes across as ill-fitting when judged against the rest of the track. This mismatch continues into the second verse, which brings the energy down to disappointing levels. Stalker rebounds soon after, and the entire package is quite strong. But, it’s another case of a great song being thwarted by K-pop producers’ desire to include the same trendy flourishes in everything they create, regardless of whether the track calls for it or not.