The Boyz have enjoyed explosive growth in popularity over the past few years, buoyed by appearances in shows like Kingdom and Road to Kingdom. Unfortunately, this seems to have slowed the progression of their once-prolific release schedule. The guys’ last comeback happened nearly a year ago, when The Stealer impressed with its dynamic arrangement. New single Thrill Ride embraces a summer concept with a boisterous hip-hop sound. But, too much of the song is more obnoxious than thrilling.
I do think a fantastic summertime hip-hop track exists for The Boyz, but this isn’t it. Given their skill as dancers, I’m confused why their agency chose such a throwaway song for their long-awaited comeback. The aggressive, clattering production seems intent on aping the noisier side of NCT’s discography, while the carnival-like chants and ad-libs opt for a basic level of catchiness that never dives under the hood. It’s all very surface level… and honestly kind of patronizing.
As with so many K-pop groups, The Boyz elevate their meager material. I love the vocals on this track. They’re light and breezy and perfectly layered to deliver shots of aural bliss. Unfortunately, you have to wade through a veritable army of “doo doo doo doos” to get to these highlights. When the overwhelming production finally clears during the explosive bridge, we get a peek at what this song could have been.
Thankfully, Thrill Ride isn’t all bluster. While the chorus is surrounded by irritating catchphrases, it also makes room for a slinky refrain that compliments the bass-heavy production. I wish the song allowed itself to coast on this groove more often. But, I guess every carnival ride has to accommodate a few loop-de-loops.