Though summer doesn’t officially start until later this month, June always seems to kick off the beginning of K-pop’s summer concepts. Of all the groups to tackle this upbeat energy, I wouldn’t have expected GHOST9 to be the first out of the gate. Though I’ve enjoyed their singles run so far, their sound has been on the edgier side of boy group fare. The exuberant Up All Night (밤샜다) switches things up completely, opting for a blast of undiluted pop melody.
To be honest, this style of power pop has my name written all over it. I love big, anthemic choruses and bounding instrumentals, so much that I can overlook the cutesier tropes that tend to accompany comebacks like this. Ever since debut, GHOST9 have made their name on strong choruses. Even when their verses opted for momentum-killing shifts in energy, their hooks always delivered. And, that’s certainly the case for Up All Night. Its two-part chorus is undeniable, harnessing a sense of sweet melodicism. Its second half is a real knockout – a soaring refrain that will surely get your pulse racing. The first is basically 2011-era One Direction, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
In between, Up All Night’s verses keep the party going. I love how intentional the melody is during the opening verse, and appreciate how the second verse rap is integrated into the song without the need for an interruptive breakdown. And even when Up All Night pulls back for its bridge, the lull isn’t jarring. The song quickly builds back to its explosive chorus, sending us out on a high. This is a ton of fun, and will probably grow even more addictive as the season wears on.