Review

Song Review: The Boyz – Thrill Ride

The Boyz - Thrill RideThe 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.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

40 thoughts on “Song Review: The Boyz – Thrill Ride

  1. Of the three bright summery boy releases today, I have the order as of right now
    Ha Sung Woo > The Boyz > ONF
    (it could change tomorrow)

    The Boyz are in the middle because its a good song, but the hook wears itself out before the song ends. It needs one more something to be great.

    Also on my current best earbuds, there is a super low bass note throughout, the kind that makes your car sound like That Car going through the neighborhood. It sounds like a low vibration hum of some machine transmitting through the walls of the building. If I were to buy the song, I would be tweaking the bass offset on the itunes setting many many clicks lower. Mandatory deduction on the technical score for that.

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  2. Okay I feel validated that I wasn’t the only one who heard shades of NCT in this (for me it was NCT Dream in particular).
    Unfortunately this feels more like a glossy B-side than a title track to me. The song relies too heavily on the “doo doo doo doo~” and overuses it, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve gotten into the habit of pulling up whatever song you’re reviewing on Apple Music and, if there are additional tracks, letting them play as I read the comments. And wow, I’m only on track two but I already like “Out of Control” a lot more than “Thrill Ride”. “Dancing Til We Drop” is okay but not quite my thing. “Nightmares” is weird and I might love it. It’s August already – when does summer song season end so we can get some concepts that don’t center around shorts and Hawaiian shirts?

    Unrelated, I know I’m not the only one excited about MIRAE’s first comeback! The back half of August is going to be packed and I’m here for it.

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  4. Honestly I don’t say this to hate since I liked to various degrees every TBZ title from Boy to Reveal, but this is by far the worst thing they have done. I just really don’t like it, I don’t see it as “them” and honestly I don’t even think its produced well. Their voices kinda all mash into one flat tone that gets drowned out by the instrumental (except Sunwoo cos I can tell his rap tone from anywhere).

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  5. I see the NCT comparisons and I have to say the first thing that came to mind when hearing Thrill Ride was actually something more akin to an MCND song, or that T1419 song that came out earlier this year (I’ve been recently revisiting all these boy groups who’re set to have a comeback this month lol). This isn’t the kind of music I tend to like, so this isn’t at the top of my list of favourites from The Boyz (the Eric and Sunwoo whisper at the bridge was also a little off-putting for me), but I too feel that they still sell this with their performance and vibrant energy (and they all look handsome as always) so that’s fun. I do wish this doesn’t become a kind of trademark sound for them though.

    The b-sides are definitely a lot more to my taste, hoping for Out of Control to be reviewed on this site as a Buried Treasure but aside from that I also quite like B.O.Y (though I think their debut Boy was slightly more fun).

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  6. I like that the Boyz went for a bright summertime concept, but just judging from the teasers I wasn’t expecting to like it all that much. The whole song feels very tiring to listen to, with the chants and the repetitive “doo doo-doo-doo, doo doo-doo-doo”, and overall feels very flat and one-note to me. Like you and some of the other comments I was definitely reminded of NCT (looking at Hot Sauce). I think I can definitely grow on it on though, so we’ll see.

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  7. My initial reaction was just that I didn’t know what to think of it. I really wanted to like it. I’ve never disliked a tbz song at first listen before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything :\

    I echo the sentiment that both “Kingdom Come” and “Drink It” were loads better than this. Hopefully they’ll lean more in that direction with a more dynamic sound next comeback– which will, I hope, happen sooner than later since Kingdom is over. In the meantime, they all look hot. Great gowns, beautiful gowns.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TBZ are just painfully average. It hurts because I can tell they’re talented, their music is just extremely disappointing. The only song I liked from them is Kingdom Come, and that didn’t even have lasting power on me.

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  9. Oooo. Fun fact: I don’t mind this song. To me it’s still a pretty good song. Yeah this isn’t their most DYNAMIC song, but they clearly weren’t going for that. I just got silly summer vibes song, so I take at face value. When I do that my score becomes an 8. When I compare it to their best…not so good.

    HOWEVER, the rest of their b sides have bright spots. If you did not like the title track, one of the b sides might stand out. Out of control and Nightmare stand out to me. Out of their slower paced songs, B.O.Y. Stands out the most to me.

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  10. Apart from “The Stealer”, this is probably the most experimental title track we’ve seen from The Boyz. So for that, I admire their ambition. Summer hip-hop now sounds enticing to listen to…

    As for this song, it’s alright.
    There’s definitely some interesting elements I like and again, I admire the group’s ambition. Also the post-chorus where the guys repeatedly chant “this THRILL-ing ride” is a guilty pleasure.
    But… when you put this song in the same bumper car arena with Ha Sungwoon’s “Strawberry Gum” and ONF’s “Popping” (note: all male releases)… I don’t think “Thrill Ride” will last long in the fight of longevity. Plus, it’s inevitable for me to look back at past The Boyz tracks more fondly.

    Having said that, out of the three male acts’ comebacks, The Boyz’s mini album as a whole is my favourite. Take the context of the amusement park theme into account, and I think this mini is fun.
    It tugs you along to all the imaginary attractions and rides The Boyz will bring you. The haunted house “Nightmare”, the time to let loose in “Out of Control” and “Dancing Till We Drop”, and the last two tracks “Merry Bad Ending” and “B.O.Y” feel like the after effects of wanting to keep having fun and thus it feels a lot more gloomy (Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s an observation).
    Then repeat the mini and you’re strapped in for another music rollercoaster all over again haha.

    My favourite attraction? “Dancing Till We Drop”.
    Shout out to “Out of Control” though! That’s also a fun ride to be on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly, “The Stealer” is the only TBZ title that I can think of right now – their music has consistently not grabbed my attention. I’m 100% with you on this being the weakest of yesterday’s three summer-boys releases, but also the strongest EP. I’m sure I’ve listened to their past b-sides but none of them grabbed me the way “Out of Control”, “Nightmare”, “DTYD” and “B.O.Y” did. If it was just “OoC” I’d write it off to my love of rock-influenced music, but those four have impressively diverse sounds. As I mentioned from my comment on the debate post, this is what I like to hear from groups I only follow casually.

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      • I wish I can like comments but just know that I like yours ^^

        “The Stealer” was really dynamic, and for The Boyz to go more cool and sexy, it was a really nice surprise! Or at least it felt like a mature side step, branching off “Reveal” in a more interesting way. Then we got “Kingdom Come” and “Drink It” succeeding the romantic version of phantom thieves concept (Persona 5 anyone?).

        I think the appeal of The Boyz’s older title tracks was the youthful energy that was built on their large ensemble (and also given how they were ‘younger’).
        Yes there are some songs of theirs that were molded by trendy sounds (tropical for “No Air”) but it still remembered having a hook and a melody.

        After Nick mentioned how “Right Here” was like the “pop version of a roller coaster”, I cannot shake that image off my head because it’s so fitting!
        That also made the comparison to “Thrill Ride”, a song that is thematically more fitting as an amusement park ride to “Right Here” which was more or less revolved around ‘I know baby you want my love’, even more frustrating.

        But after having a read through what you said above my post, I can understand why a lot of their past releases may not catch your attention, and that’s ok!
        I also agree with your sentiment on seeing more diverse songs within a mini, and The Boyz’s latest mini showed that. It may help given the concept but nonetheless, I enjoyed the songs collectively a lot more than I thought.

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        • Hah, I thought there was a second title I’d liked and I’d totally forgot about “Reveal” – I like that one, but the name was utterly lost in my brain. I’d remember if it were called “Down For Your Love”.

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  11. I am usually not the sort of person who says ”X group should do ABC concept” but I’ll make an exception for TBZ’s case.

    For their vocal style and as you mentioned their strength – exceptional synchronisation in dancing – a mature theme is definitely more suitable.

    In the whole of the Kingdom finale, as a song their Kingdom Come was by far my favourite and seeing Thrill-ride almost makes me wanna cry. I feel like TBZ are still trying to find their style, but the sad thing is they have already found it but aren’t completely capitalising on their strength – unlike say ONF where they stick to their breezy vibrant nature or Golcha with their stylish yet vocally strong nature.

    Watching the MV was so tiring… I did not feel a happy/fun energy at all – I won’t say it’s a bad song because it might grow on me with their live performances but it isn’t a song which is suitable for them.

    I feel if they really wanted to do something fun & summery something along the style of Pentagon’s Do or Not would have been way more suitable – they certainly have charm and I feel Thrill-ride is more of a song like Drippin’s Free Pass which is mostly supposed to be carried by youthful cuteness 😅

    Well I’m still hoping with all my heart we get a Kingdom Come MV but something tells me it’s going to be forgotten soon.😂

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  12. Wow, I didn’t know NCT 2021 happened already. Learning all the new Dream members is gonna take a while.

    (Also, for a second the thumbnail made me think they brought Hyunjoon back)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your tolerance of this song depends on how you how much you like the main melodic loop that keeps getting used, because it gets overplayed fast in this song. In some ways if you like this stuff like NCT Dream’s stuff, it will probably work out, but it’s just very repetitive for me.

    It’s sad because Drink It wasn’t even their comeback and it sounds way better than this, though this isn’t that bad, just not at all my cup of tea.

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  14. the doodoo background sound is so overused that it distracts me besides that its not that bad song but really missed comeback since it was their comeback after kindgom and 1 year of hiatus
    unrelated but will you review mcnd trailer ‘reason’ this is basically 3 min song and they all sang english, i really loved the song besides the chorus

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  15. I’m quite surprised at the unfavourable response in general, but I can see why. From the get-go I had a feeling that you might not like this track. Weirdly, this track was exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t want the boyz to go down the dark, aggressive route (reveal still gives me war flashbacks). The song does sort of blend a bunch of things into one another and gets pretty repetitive. But for an easy summer listen, I can picture Thrill Ride being in my playlist until I get sick of it.

    Someone else here pointed out how painfully average TBZ’s discography is, and I really must agree. Their music tends to blend into generic tropes without ever fully settling in. I think similarly about SF9, except SF9 delivers clean-cut placeholder boygroup music that’s enjoyable for what it is. TBZ’s music leaves me wanting, like it could be so much more in its artistic value. They have some really strong members under their belt, from performance to rap to vocals. It’s a real pity that the discography doesn’t do the artist’s potential justice.

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  16. I like it. It’s noisy, cheerful, and cute. But then again I love Hot Sauce to death. I also have to pick and choose a lot with the Boyz.

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    • Update; now i kind of love it. It’s like if Jump Around era House of Pain or Got Some Teeth era Obie Trice met bubble gum. You Be Illin’ Run DMC meets Steal my Sunshine. Fun in my book.

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