Review

Song Review: ENHYPEN – Drunk-Dazed

ENHYPEN - Drunk-DazedIn the middle of writing about last year’s I-LAND, I questioned whether I should continue with the show. It didn’t seem to be creating the buzz I’d expected among K-pop fans. But, then ENHYPEN debuted and sold a boatload of albums. Clearly, you don’t need a huge viewing audience to spawn a successful idol act. With support from the newly-rechristened HYBE, the guys seem to have secured their future in the industry. And while I thought debut track Given-Taken was just okay, the teasers for Drunk-Dazed promised to up the tempo and offer something a little different.

Spoiler alert: I like the song. But, I’m going to get my criticism out of the way first, because it’s what keeps this track from claiming an excellent rating.

I’ve complained about HYBE’s vocal mixing several times before, but Drunk-Dazed might be the most egregious example yet. The vocals are muffled and compressed. The mixing drains all character from the performers. It’s not robotic in the way autotune can be. Instead, it sounds submerged, like a lo-fi transcode playing on a tinny speaker. I just don’t get it. This heavy-handed approach threatens to turn ENHYPEN into avatars rather than artists. They can’t simply be a delivery method for HYBE’s house sound.

With that rant over, the actual song is fantastic. This only makes the low-quality mixing more frustrating, but at least we’ve got a commanding beat and exciting chorus to look forward to. I like how Drunk-Dazed kicks off at high energy and doesn’t let up. It really captures the feeling of a carnival, in keeping with the album’s title. And the addition of rock elements lends it a different texture than most boy group tracks. It’s fun to hear a comeback go this unabashedly big, and I hope this will become a trend going forward. If given a robust vocal to match, this would easily score in the nines for me. Unfortunately, the producers get in their own way, constraining ENHYPEN when they should draw upon their authentic, unprocessed voices instead.

 Hooks 9
 Production 7
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

65 thoughts on “Song Review: ENHYPEN – Drunk-Dazed

  1. I think I’m so numb to the over processed vocals that they didn’t bother me much. Tbh I’d probably say the more I listen to this, the more I think the vocal processing bothers me less and perhaps even adds to the creepy carnival atmosphere (it’s the brainwashing talking). I didn’t follow or watch I-LAND at all so I’m not familiar with their vocal tones so I guess I have nothing to compare to.

    I also love how relentless this song is, so it would easily be in the 9s for me. I enjoyed Given-Taken much more than you did, but I’m still genuinely surprised that their music (to me) improved by leaps and bounds so quickly, and the members seem to be upping their performance a lot more than I expected too. I think this song is actually a highlight for me despite the pool of super amazing releases from this year!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. This was a definite step up from their debut track! While I think the fuzzy, indistinct vocal processing adds to the ‘Dazed’ feeling of the song, it doesn’t do the boys any favours in terms of distinguishing themselves.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Yeah it seems like the vocal processing is gonna be a trademark on Enhypen at this point. Oh well!

    Their mini album really amazed me though. It does capture the concept of carnival very well. My favorite track on the mini album so far is fever. We will see how it grows~

    Side note: I was surprised with how much blood imagery they used during the music video.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. same with Ying, at this point I’m numb to the trademark HYBE vocal processing. it’s still grating to listen to (especially in their new b-sides) but overall the song is good. I’m so glad they took this route with their music, I hope they don’t steer far from it too soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. this is definitely better than their previous material and i really like it, but after a while i found the song to be quite tiresome and the chorus becomes a little too repetitive for me. i still think its good tho and its definitely a step up!

    Like

    • hi!! i was thinking the same thing, like its really repetitive, but I kind of interpreted at them being stuck in this repetitive loop? if you get what I mean? their trapped in this carnival, the same place, hence a recurring chorus. idk that’s just how I saw it but def a more hyped side of enhypen I’m looking forward to seeing during promotions!

      Like

      • yeah this song definitely grew on me! i enjoy it more whenever i play it now, tho i try not to keep replaying it cause i feel like im gonna get tired of it real quick but the hook is a beast! i love where they’re going and definitely excited for more cause the b-sides were good too. i just wish the producers wouldn’t go ham on the autotune in their next comeback.

        Like

  6. I don’t even really think that the processing here is all that damaging to the overall work. Thing is, though, if you played me this song and told me it was performed by one or two people, I’d believe you.

    Liked by 6 people

      • Ah, I see! I agree like… ninety percent? There’s just enough personality squeezed in for the song to feel pretty complete to me, but it’s one of those things where the more I think about it, the worse my opinion is. If I had absolutely zero context on the artist, I’d love it, but just knowing that does put a bit of a damper on things.

        Like

  7. That is one hell of a hook. The verses are dull and merely move the song along, but the chorus is holy cow wow. Solid pop song chorus.

    The vocal processing is perhaps OK because of the subject matter of the song, but that said, all the guys sound the same because of the vocal processing button, again, thanks Hy be be da loca. I even bothered to watch a line distribution video, and all seven guys get 15-20%. Could you tell? Nope. Sounded like one guy. I also watched the “live showcase”, and as per Hybe-usual it was all prerecorded.

    I really wonder what this would sound like with a better vocal group, like a Shinee or SuJu, or even a GolCha. Take for example, SuJu “Breakdown” (in Mandarin) which has a similar propulsive chorus and vocal processing, but you can still hear the person behind it.
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Nz8t3vNo8 original in Mandarin
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-maCdg7r3ms live music show version in Korean with really live vocals not pre-recorded

    Liked by 5 people

    • The first group that came to mind was Oneus (expect knowing them they’d shoehorn a random trap fueled rap break in). They would have done it justice (and also maybe this is just me wanting more dark, gothic, fantasy concepts from them)

      Liked by 1 person

      • This would be awesome for a rock group to cover. Growly voices. Booming voices, vocals just sinking into that downwards glissando. Ooh the possibilities. They would also push a better instrumental over the verses to hide the mediocre verse melody, like a kicking bass, or kicking kick drums, or both. Oooh, I can imagine double time double kick drums kicking this up a notch.

        Like

    • I think If you gave it to DRIPPIN then it could have been better in ten-fold.

      Enhypen has strong vocals but I am saying this on the basis of the company. Unlike Bighit, Woollim knows their strengths (well kinda), they would offer some unique elements and give such a strong vocal blend it would knock your feets off.
      They would actually give creative ideas and stop trying to slather the whole thing with that dumb ass plodding voice.

      I like the processing here but how will this help in terms of live stages? Or in longevity for that matter? That’s what I’m kind of pissed about.

      Like

    • Hey Myma! The kids got their first win today! I thought you might be interested because given the issues with the production that you’ve pointed out, this encore might be one of the only times we get to hear their actual vocals lol.

      Like

      • [My own opinion is that while the vocal processing works for the concept of this song, hearing their real voices makes them more charming and personable, and personally I really like Sunoo’s vocal tone (he’s the one in the yellow pants) and would love to actually get to hear it sometime lol]

        Like

      • First of all, mazel tov, congratulations for the music show win.

        Ah the dreaded winners encore. This is the part which undoes Twice every time. The song part looks like they are enjoying themselves and not freaking out.

        The real voices are about the same as I remember from their survival show last year. Some did better than others, some could at least hold the tune. But what is really interesting to me is that gain on the mics aren’t set for their singing voices, because they didn’t use these mics at all. And also learning to use a hand held mic is like learning an instrument, and most of them need more practice.

        The chorus is still a hell of a hook, and fun to sing along to.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like the song and I’m willing to overlook the vocal processing. But surely it’s better for the boys to actually learn to sing in their natural voices in the long run if they want a long career? Unless every HYBE group plans to lip-sync every live performance I don’t see how it is beneficial to constantly cover up the vocals in layers upon layers of processing. I listen to many artists that use vocal processing and distortion, but as an added sound to the instrumental rather than the actual lyrical performance of the whole song. The whole thing sounds like one voice I couldn’t tell you how many people are in the group.

    But yes more big energetic songs in kpop please!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “sing in their natural voices” and “lip sync every live performance”
      What she/he said. How else are they going to learn if they can’t/don’t. Coulda/shoulda/woulda.

      Take this live performance. Hybe didn’t even have them re-record it on those mics without the vocal processing like they do with BTS, its just the track itself. Those mics aren’t even turned on.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wq8kkdDDts

      I feel for these kids. On one hand, they are signed to the biggest label on the planet (I think, may as well be), on the other hand they are only growing so much as performers with songs like these. Only allowed so much expression. All it says is you are not good enough so we keep on the original vocal track. I think that has got to be frustrating. My humble opinion, all of the above, freely shared

      Also, I still do like the song, or more properly love the chorus + tolerate the verses = like the song. The performance, meaning the dance, is also solid.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It really is a bit sad. I can’t imagine how it would feel to go through all this trouble just for a huge chunk of the job to be as divorced from you as possible. I don’t follow Enhypen, but most of these kids wanted (and trained) to be singers, right? Usually that entails singing a song more than once. That’s hardly an isolated problem, but we’ve a strong example here.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think this is works for them currently because it seems they had really short-to-none training with vocals during i-land and still need time to work on that. But they’re young, and still have plenty of time to hone their skills. They have a lot fo potential. I thought the song was okay. I really liked the hook. Their performance is top-notch, but yeah, I really hope they do something about the vocals. Some of them sing really well, like Heesung(?), but his voice is completely smothered here, it’s almost unrecognizable.

          Like

        • I think we both agree that it isn’t live but lip synced over some recording or other, and perhaps we are just splitting hairs so to speak, but the first two kids sound live-ish and then the third kid starts and the tinniness returns, and then over others there is also the tinniness, so its hard to tell other than it’s not live but lipsynced over some recording or other. (Recordings, plural?) We are both right!

          Like

  9. the bridge and the final post chorus are so distorted it almost hurts to listen to, but it hurts so good, i really like the insane saturation they just put on every channel.
    its almost 100 gecs level over-the-top noise which is why it makes such a cool kpop song. when i first listened on my phone, my poor iphone speakers could barely make out anything that resembled chords. super fun (and thats not sarcastic)

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m in the minority apparently which loved Given Taken lol, but I like this a lot, too. Just wish it went a bit more rock in some moments, it would’ve been so cool.

    It is a shame that the vocal procession leads to their voices not being that recognizable but at least it wasn’t that out of place.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I….actually like the vocal processing here, It gives the feeling of a hurricane sweeping in and it actually feels exciting.

    But I do agree that we need a more robust vocal, It could have lend the track a great texture. I have no idea why Bighit feels the need to thrust up some otherworldly, distorted half-assed voice. It almost feels sloggy and uninspired…

    Liked by 4 people

    • To be fair, after listening to this a bunch of times. I get why they added the vocal processing, I honestly thinks it’s one of the reason why the track works for me. I have no idea why though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree! As an I-land watcher, I was pleasantly surprised by Given-Taken, and Drunk-Dazed went above my expectations for a first comeback. The vocal processing hasn’t bothered me to the fact that it prevented me from enjoying the actual song though, it just adds to the adrenaline rush!

        Like

  12. I had a feeling you would like this one 😀

    But I agree, the awful vocal processing strikes yet again…

    Like

      • Oh wait, I had an inkling I had seen these guys before and my hunch was right. They guested on this show and had a mini singing battle with Seungkwan’s team. I’m miffed I didn’t check them out at that time.

        Like

        • Ah yes, we all had a good laugh when that variety video one came out in January.

          They often covered Amor Fati a few years ago as part of a medley in their concert set list. This particular fan cam is well-watched – this is the kind of fun concert that is all fun, as they act like a couple of drunk cousins or uncles at a family wedding who happen to sing exceptionally well.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwV_nT5MjHg

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! As an Enhypen stan, I thought this song was pretty good. The teasers hyped (no pun intended) up the comeback well and it lived up to expectations! It’s one of those songs where it seems like it will hit especially at 3 AM, if you know what I mean. But the thing is I can’t really tell some of them apart… There were only 3 voices that I could actually distinguish, and those were only the unique voices and the one with an accent (more specifically, Jungwon, Sunghoon, and Niki). The voice processing is a bit weird.

    Like

  14. I love this. The vocals remind me of what the world can sound like when your intoxicated (or possibly suffering from blood loss, if you’re their victim). The whole song has a dionysian half-party, half-rite feel to it and I am definitely here for it.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I have no technical knowledge so I approach music from how it makes me feel. Does it paint a picture for me? Can I enter into it? Do I feel joy, anger, sorrow, curiosity, surprise, exhuberance?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Been trying & failing to find the right words to describe the experience of listening to Drunk Dazed and I am now in jealous awe of how succinctly you captured the essence of the song, lmao.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Love the song! The processing suits the vibe, but it is a shame that it leaves zero room for personality, different vocal tones or phrasings. Having more powerful and unique vocal performances on this would really take it to the next level.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow. Agree with the review 100%. The sound is fantastic but the vocals drain the entire character out of that song. This could have easily been one of my fav songs out of all the releases till now this year but the vocal processing took a giant dump on that thought (Excuse my language, I’m just frustrated when someone kills a great song like this).

    Don’t know why I’m hoping that Hybe won’t pull this shit with TXT next month but who am I kidding.

    This is self-destructive behaviour. This comment should have been singing praises about that chorus but instead it’s a rant. Go figure.

    Like

  17. I came into this song with a bad impression because what group has a 15-year-old it and a song called “Drunk-Dazed” but I was pleasantly surprised. I had a blast listening to this.

    The one thing that I’d like to see is a vocal difference that sets apart Enhypen from TXT. When I heard their first album it was by accident through a kpop playlist and I thought it was a TXT album I somehow missed. I find them very easy to confuse and I continue to think Given-Taken is a TXT song when it comes on shuffle.
    I think they have a lot of room to grow into themselves and it should be fun to watch.

    Like

    • I could see where that confusion would come from. Both suffer from the same mixing issues.

      But, I think TXT have a stronger character to their voices, and that offsets some of the issues I have with the vocal effects.

      Like

  18. This is some intense vocal processing. I like the chorus somewhat, but I am also not a big fan of the song in general. It’s a great hook, instantly stuck in my head but I also find listening to the song just to be unpleasant so I guess that’s my issue with it.

    I vastly prefer Not for Sale on the album and in contrast, Mixed Up too. Mixed Up’s very EXO, though maybe without the strong vocals. Not for Sale is a surprise to me though, even though it definitely has a generic sound to it. I think I just really like how subdued it is without being too dreary. The chorus melody probably helps a lot. If STAYC’s Love Fool was like the summer haze, this feels like a cold spring breeze. That said it has the makings of a very boring song normally, but hey I’ve listened to it more than Drunk-Dazed so it must work somehow.

    Like

    • Two days later, I’ve grown to like this song. Though that might be because through the rough speakers of the laptop, the vocal processing doesn’t seem as bad. I don’t like the weird high-pitch skrrt in the chorus, but aside from that it seems like a nice hype song.

      Like

  19. I’ve made myself numb to the vocal processing so that I can enjoy the song more. On a few more listens,it feels like it actually matches the carnival-like atmosphere of the song.

    The hook is great. Enhypen boast some strong vocals and the producers must draw upon their strengths instead of applying a tinny autotune effect that feels weird.

    I also can’t stop imagining how this song would have been if it had been made by SM. Add a little touches of strings in the bridge and prechorus and it gets more dramatic.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Even though I almost always hate the mixing on their voices, this time it seemed kinda fitting. I still would’ve prefered them to sound more human. When watching I-land, vocals were a big concern for me because they didn’t seem to matter to anyone on the show. I really wish that, even if none of them are btob level, they could at least show the differences are in their vocies

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now this song is really sinking into my skin, whenever it comes on my playlist. I get so HYPED! The vocal processing actually adds texture for me, once again…Like a hurricane sweeping. And that additional melody line is just *perfect*

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m not normally as sensitive to vocal processing quirks as some of your commenters are. That being said, this song is like a challenge to see how much autotune I can possibly take before a song is ruined for me lol. I got past it eventually and enjoyed the song, but I don’t know if it’ll hold up to repeated listening.

    I will say that unlike the vocal processing in Given/Taken (which actually grew on me more than I expected), which I think was pretty standard overdone Bighit stuff, in this track it feels more like a purposeful stylistic choice. I mean it is so distinct here that I think it’s meant to tie into their vampire concept making them sound inhuman. Maybe it’s part of their concept to sound somewhat indistinct too, like a vampire coven Borg hivemind. It’s spooky, I’ll give it that. Whether it’s worth it, um… not really? I would rather hear their voices. But if I’m right and it’s part of the concept, then maybe we’ll hear more of them after they’ve exhausted the vampire concept. It would be really cool to see a drastic change of sound with a concept 180.

    Visually, concept-wise, I was a lot more impressed with this video than the debut one. They stuck with the vampire concept but added the youthful party element, which I think makes it fit more with their young ages. it also feels like a logical progression, if the first video was about the formation of the coven in that old-school “orphanage” type environment then the second is about them going out into the “modern” world and feeding on their prey. It’s cool, and I love that they went there with the bloodbath imagery. Finally, on a purely aesthetic fangirl level, I must express my appreciation for Heeseung with a lip ring. Awooga, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking about the hive mind, too. We may be giving them too much credit, but it’s the first thing that occured to me when people mentioned the vocal processing. But if that’s the case, the human versions of the boys should be less processed when they sing… But that lore is beyond me. Oh heck, I barely hear processing anymore anyway.

      Like

  22. I’ve been trying to find out who’s produced the song but to no avail,can someone help?
    Also I knew Nick wouldn’t like the vocal processing hahaha,but the chorus is fantasticc so idec

    Like

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.