Fresh 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.