Review

Song Review: UP10TION – Spin Off

UP10TION - ConnectionWhile I’ve never counted UP10TION among my personal favorite idol groups, they’ve elbowed their way into my year-end top ten list a couple of times. Their singles tend to be hit or miss — but when they hit, they hit big. Funny enough, Spin Off encapsulates this contrast into one song. It boasts many excellent points, undercut by a middling middle.

Spin Off opens with a tease of its chorus, and it’s a big one. There’s a sense of grandeur within this soaring refrain, reminiscent of big, brassy beasts like SHINee’s Sherlock. The boys sound fantastic, their layered vocals crafting a knockout punch. And when this chorus returns to unveil its full potential, Spin Off absolutely soars. I love when K-pop goes big and bold, and UP10TION deserve kudos for laying it all on the line.

But… you knew it was coming. If you’re triggered by endless discussions about K-pop’s second verses, skip to the next paragraph because Spin Off slows to a crawl during its middle. The instrumental makes a few interesting choices within this framework, but the change in momentum lasts far too long and sacrifices the blazing energy the track had been building. A deft arrangement can counter this issue (after all, one of my absolute favorite songs of 2021 features a prominent second verse breakdown), but Spin Off spends too much time spinning its wheels. I mean, imagine if Sherlock or The Chaser had placed an extended half-time verse right at their core? It just doesn’t blend with the rest of the song.

Luckily, Spin Off returns bigger than ever, bolstered by electric guitar as that brisk beat underpins the finale. The mighty chorus does all the heavy lifting, and is more than up for the task. It may sound like I’m down on this song, but that’s not the case. Despite all my grumbling, Spin Off‘s strengths far outweigh its missteps. But, it’s hard not to be frustrated when a track comes so close to excellence — especially when it’s pulled down in such a predictable way.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

27 thoughts on “Song Review: UP10TION – Spin Off

  1. That bass really slaps. This is what having a Real Bass player does. It is most noticeable in the chorus.

    Also, yes I heard it too, imitation is the finest form of flattery. This song sounds like a combo of Shinee with NCT “Superhuman” chorus sans the Stevie Wonder chords.

    This harkens back to the kind of kpop that drew me to kpop: that insistent persistence that lasts for a full four minutes of unabated energy. The second verse doesn’t bother me at all. Sherlock also goes through ups and downs too. Here its more like a breakdown than a verse in any case.

    I only own one other up10tion song, so this will be the second.
    “Tonight” from 2016 with kicking horns – music show version below with mostly live vocals ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Kwghl2tZo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherlock’s ups and downs play with different instrumental elements, but the main groove never changes. That stomping beat is such a through-line, and maintains the energy even when the guys move into a breakdown.

      I think I’m more attuned to (and bothered by) tempo and energy shifts than most. And now that I’ve noticed the pattern, it’s hard not to focus on it.

      Like

    • Ah yes, Tonight was also great! This track also reminds me a lot of WJSN, but I can not remember which specific song. Maybe it’s just the harmonies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so exhausted from K-pop’s obsession of half-time verses, It’s just….annoys me. I’ve had a bad day so far and I forgot this existed so in a fit of happiness I went forward and listened to it and got really annoyed. Why are K-pop producers obsessed with this? Like, there is nothing charming whatsoever, and I am pretty goddamn sure that they could have used electric guitar to underpin the raps and kept the momentum still going.

    It’s just…that chorus was so incredible but I don’t want to listen to the second verse at all, I keep my fingers crossed that this doesn’t ruin either any of Lucy or Seventeen’s upcoming tracks.

    Speaking of Lucy, I made my best friend a walwal, they aren’t really into K-pop but they have loved all of the songs by the band so far! And what a perfect time to be a fan of them, they seem to be coming back with a strong one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reminds me a lot of SHINee’s Dream Girl in parts. The second verse is way too long and slows down for no reason though. Going Crazy remains their best song (followed by Tonight), but this is not their worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Huh, now that you mention… it does, if only partly. Even the intro is somewhat similar too. Partly because of their synths sound very similar and the vocal sample sounds like Apple’s too. Maybe also because of the vocal layering and the beginning melody of the chorus that really sounds like GFRIEND could have also sung it.

      Like

  4. I am gonna say something, That second verse has kind of grown on me….
    I think it’s because that the guys voice still remains rhythmic and it really didn’t upend or disrupt the song’s flow. Just kind of blocked out the build-up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, it’s growing on me as well. Or rather, I’ve made peace with it the way I do with all breakdowns forced within songs I otherwise love. I imagine this’ll bump up to a “9” for me once all is said and done…

      Like

  5. I’m reminded of all sorts of different songs and artists listening to this, and looking at the comments it seems I’m not the only one.

    Similarities or not, this takes a lot of kpop ingredients that I love (layered harmonies, uptempo beat, great bassline) and uses them well. The breakdown is unnecessary as usual, but it’s more forgettable than actively awful to me.
    The rest of the song is just great.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The second verse transitions well and starts off well, but it’s just way too long. Masterful choruses regardless. The entire thing is GREAT to listen to though even if it the middle bit could’ve been cut.

    On that note, here’s an exclusive cut for TheBiasList readers inspired by the lovely “no skrrt skrrt” version of House Party. I am no audio editor, so I had to make do for cutting the halftime part off. I can’t do a Sherlock-esque transition so the remaining second verse enters very abruptly because of that, but hey what can I do? Here it is anyway. I also didn’t cut off the halftime ending, but the vocal layering at the end makes it good.

    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa7S7eRbZJE

    Liked by 3 people

  7. So it’s another comeback without the only 2 popular members in this group? Man, does the agency not want these guys to succeed, or what? What gives…???

    Like

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