Song Review: SF9 – Tear Drop

SF9 - Tear DropFresh off their participation in MNET’s Kingdom, SF9 are the first group to make their post-show comeback. Though they didn’t win the competition, the guys showcased their versatility as performers. I was a big fan of their Move stage, and hoped their future music would embrace that fashionable, forward-thinking concept. New single Tear Drop flirts with the idea, but comes across as yet another minimalist, rhythm-based dance track.

The trick with minimalism is finding an excellent melody or instrumental element to compensate for an arrangement that tends to lack dynamics. By design, a song like Tear Drop finds its sinuous groove and rarely strays from that formula. When considering the strengths of K-pop idol groups, this approach seems counter-intuitive. Yet, it’s been a trend for awhile now. Tear Drop follows suit, opening with drips of atmospheric synth that could have been pulled from any number of comebacks over the past few years. The track quickly races into its straightforward dance beat. It’s deep house adjacent without going all the way.

SF9 bring the requisite K-pop charisma to Tear Drop, delivering a smooth, airy performance. This sultriness helps sell the simple melodies, and when the song drops into a wordless vocal hook we’re already fully primed for the sound. But without a killer chorus to build toward, Tear Drop is almost too aloof for its own good. It’s a satisfying groove while you’re in the thick of it, but the track quickly evaporates once it’s finished. As a convincing post-Kingdom throwdown, I’m not sure Tear Drop lands with enough impact.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

17 thoughts on “Song Review: SF9 – Tear Drop

  1. As soon as I heard the twinkling synths, I thought, ooooh, Nick’s not gonna dig this (ref: the beginning of spring). This feels like a sequel to now or never though not quite as potent. For me, the dancefloor groove is cool, and I hoped so much for a more melodic post chorus like that of the one that elevated now or never, but I guess I’m just kind of satisfied with the final output.


  2. The moment those marimba sounds came in I knew Nick would not like it. I don’t really get how oversaturated those sounds can be, although clearly I haven’t listened to enough songs to get tired of it.

    Anyway, it definitely feels like they took the formula of Now or Never and did something else with it. Trading in energy, color and beat with softness, sophistication and subtlety instead. Whether you find that good or not depends on your tastes. Personally, both songs have their own vibes and I love both (though Tear Drop a little less).

    I think the chorus melody is fine, just needed lyrics. I wrote some lyrics that could’ve fit and they sounded really well with it. I’ve gotten used to the “hoo’s” but definitely could’ve been much more interesting.

    Nick definitely has a point that it lacks some staying power, but I don’t think it’s bereft of it. Not quite a hook, but there’s still some catch in there.

    Personally, I really really like it. There’s something about dance-y sad songs that really get me. This is crying in the club vibes and I’ll take it… to the dancefloor. I love dancing to this song, just as much as I did with Now or Never so they’ve clearly succeeded with that. I think it’s a good sequel to it, although it definitely has its flaws.

    Also, I do love the final chorus. The countermelody, then the quickfire rap, then the return of the xylophone. Very neat.


    • It was the ubiquitous intro for a while, maybe around summer 2019? every B or C list boy group with the summer “bright concept”. But not so much marimba, as a distinct synth wood xylophone, like they all used the same synthesizer setting. And here they actually make an arpeggio melody, but in the typical “that wood xylo sound” it was fingers dropping on keys doing a messy crash crash crash sputter. Which is hard to do on a real marimba or xylophone unless you have multiples of mallets and deliberately fraction of a second mistime them on notes all close together within inches of each other. Or in other words, make a sound the real instrument cannot really make.

      I wish I had ready examples to share, but it seems I have tucked them away so far back in my memory as to not remember any particulars.

      This one here, its ok. I don’t think I would quite put it in the same class as “that wood xylo sound”.


  3. This really sounds familiar but I can’t put my finger which song(s) does it sound like. Though I can hear a bit of iz*one’s panorama at the first note. Not the best time to drop this kind of sound during this season but I really dig this nonetheless.


  4. In the comments, you mentioned it sounds almost “lazy” and I have to agree. It’s very pleasing to listen to, but the song stays on one note. It never changes direction.

    Compared to their past releases this is kind of dull by comparison.

    I think the mv annoys me more than the song. The opening shot is nice, but it just feels like strings of glamor shots. I don’t know, I felt like it could have been a little more creative.

    Overall, I would say the song is 7.75 or 8 for me. Is not bad at all, but it is missing something to make it special. Particularly in the chorus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I might be too harsh on it simply cuz my post kingdom expectations. I guarantee I will think more favorably of it as I listen to it more.


    • True! This song was really disappointing to me simply because it follows the formula set by now or never and is quite flat throughout. It’s forgettable. When I listened to good guy it was like the day version of now or never and teardrop seems like part 3 of the now or never saga. I was hoping that they’d go down a new direction after summer breeze to explore some of their most exciting genres like O Sole Mio’s latin pop but oh well, I hope they have another comeback this year with a more full-bodied sound.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I felt let-down by the chorus. What is it with groups launching a single word, usually the most obvious one possible, and letting that be the chorus? I loved the xylophone and the little boing boing sounds. The verses and pre-chorus and post-chorus are lovely. It still has a delicacy that I like so I’ll probably keep listening.

    Liked by 2 people

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