Monsta X have been building up to the release of their latest Japanese album, and recently unveiled its title track Flavors of Love. The song catches them in a lighter-than-normal moment, abandoning heavy production and stomping percussion for a laidback groove that shines focus on their vocals.
This is a gratifying turn. The group has excellent vocalists, but it’s hard to compete with the bombast that usually swirls around them. I feel like we rarely get to hear their vocal blend, or experience a dialed-down version of their charms. This is the greatest compliment I can give to Flavors of Love, because I find the track to be quite bland otherwise.
Like many K-pop and J-pop singles, this comes across as a copy of a copy of a copy. The instrumental lacks innovation. Its bouncy electronics have some character, but it’s a sound that should be retired for a year or two so that we have time to miss it and long for its return. Instead, I find myself using the word “plonky” far more than I ever thought I would when describing pop music. To be fair, Flavors of Love bolsters its familiar beat with strums of guitar that bring a welcome warmth to the track. Coupled with the group’s breezy performance, the song goes down easy. I love the sound of their voices during the chorus. I just wish the hook wasn’t so repetitive. Most of the melodies here lack imagination, which only adds to Flavor of Love’s feeling of ‘been there, done that’ familiarity.