TOO’s 2020 debut left me a bit cold, but their summer follow-up ended up being one of my favorite tracks of the year. Its bright, exuberant sound fit them especially well, and helped distinguished them from other boy groups. But, every rose has its thorn, and Count 1, 2 ended up being TOO’s final comeback before switching agencies and rebranding as TO1.
This second iteration doesn’t seem drastically different from the first, but Son of Beast is much more hard-hitting than Count 1, 2. Thankfully, much of its edge has a funk-flavored overtone, making most of the track feel quite nimble and energetic. True to 2021 form, the song opens with a deep rumble of bass guitar. This rhythmic backbone has quickly become omnipresent in K-pop, which means producers need to work even harder to forge a unique, satisfying melody to counter the sense of familiarity. I’m not sure that Son of Beast quite gets there, but it does have its moments.
Though it’s very repetitive, I enjoy the song’s cheesy hook. “I’m a son of a beast” makes for an awkward chorus, fraught with potential for misunderstanding (we all know what word might replace “beast”…). But, the vocal layering delivers an addictive texture, aiding Beast’s funky assault. It becomes especially fun during the final chorus, when that refrain interacts with a secondary hook for a call and response energy. Unfortunately, the track is also home to a truly flagrant display of ‘second verse half-time breakdown.’ It takes awhile to recover from this energy vacuum, leaving a disappointing hole in the middle of the song. But in the end, Son of Beast has more high points than low. It’s a solid rebirth for this promising young group.