P1Harmony made a solid debut last October, but waited six months before returning with their first comeback. Judging from their new album, the group seems to have settled on hip-hop as their overarching sound. I think it’s a good fit for their talents – especially if they can draw from various elements and eras of the genre.
It probably won’t surprise anyone to hear that my favorite hip-hop songs put their beat front and center, opting for full-bodied groove over skittering trap hi-hats. That’s likely a product of my age more than anything. And when I say that Scared’s slamming percussion reminds me of J-Kwon’s 2004 mega-hit Tipsy, that will draw an even more specific backdrop. This is meant as a compliment, of course. I love the production on Scared (겁나니). An insistent breakbeat drives its instrumental, complimented by cacophonous rhythms that deepen the groove. It’s hard to sit still when listening to a song like this.
At first, I thought Scared’s chorus was a bit of a letdown. The chant seemed too simplistic. But after a few listens, it’s amazing how much bite that hook has. It’s made even stronger by a descending vocal flourish that adds extra flavor to the track. Scared focuses more on rap than melody, making the vocal moments stand out. But as with any great hip-hop track, the rap verses are the highlight. It’s fun to hear idol rappers given a chance to shine over playful percussion, rather than be relegated to some stale post-chorus trap breakdown. P1Harmony would be wise to maintain this addictive style on future comebacks.