Review

Song Review: Omega X – What’s Goin’ On

Omega X - What's Goin' OnOver the years, I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with the K-pop sub-genre some affectionately call “noise music.” As dance clubs become less common and listeners primarily consume new music from their computer screens, dance-oriented tracks seem designed to get your head nodding as you watch YouTube rather than get your body moving on the dancefloor. Though K-pop groups place choreography over these blustering beats, their leaden sound seems almost antagonistic to groove.

I mention this because it explains why I often rate songs like Omega X’s Vamos quite low. Unfortunately, they’re just not my thing — and certainly not what first drew me to K-pop. Like so many other boy groups of this generation, Omega X seem intent on pursuing this style. New single What’s Goin’ On is another example of K-pop noise, though it’s anchored by a stronger arrangement than its predecessor.

The industrial beat that powers verse one gets the song off to a great start. If the producers had stuck to this driving rhythm all the way through, I might be raving about the track. But though the chorus doesn’t totally upend the momentum, the percussion becomes more predictable as What’s Goin’ On… erm… goes on. The pre-chorus is unremarkable, while the chorus forgets a hook in favor of a lazy chant that barely gets a chance to bare its teeth. By the time we fumble into a dance breakdown, the song has revealed itself as yet another maelstrom of blaring synths, distorted rumbles and growling vocals. This recipe has become a pastiche, and prevents me from fully embracing the track’s stronger instincts.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

29 thoughts on “Song Review: Omega X – What’s Goin’ On

  1. Father father, we don’t need to escalate. You see, war is not the answer for only love can conquer hate. You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some loving here today.

    All kidding aside, this song here is above average dark noise theme, if only because it avoids our least favorite tropes.

    The original “What’s Going On” is 50 years young this year, and still relevant.

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  2. The groove the song opened with had so much potential its a shame it was all watered down into such familiar territory by the end. I want the song powered by the guitar intrumental in the intro. Oh well it still better than Vamos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually do agree with much of your last paragraph, I’d just have liked it to be more obnoxious. I’m fine planting my flag on Mt. “I prefer Vamos” here by my lonesome. I largely agree with paragraph one, also, although the dancing I did in college favored the Rob Zombie/NIN/RatM sound so we might have different standards of “danceable”. Pretty sure “God’s Menu” would have fit right in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You bring up an interesting point! This approach to K-pop is almost more analogous to heavy metal than “traditional” dance music.

        When I think of music that makes me want to dance, my mind immediately goes to funk (Janet/MJ, Prince, Bruno, The Weeknd, etc), 90’s hip-hop/R&B or club-driven EDM (house, trance, techno, etc).

        …or Latin Freestyle! (but no one talks about that genre anymore…)

        However, I’m getting older by the year so maybe the kids just dance differently these days! No judgement whatsoever, but that’s the lens I come at things from. I was never much of a metalhead.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My sister, a longtime metalhead, would be indignant at your classification of Rob Zombie (post White Zombie) and RatM as heavy metal – they’re more rap rock or industrial metal, which gives them more in common with k-pop noise music than a lot of metal, excepting occasional bright spots like this year’s “Poison” or last year’s “Scream” and “Form”. Since I’m just listing groups from The Matrix soundtracks now, The Protege and Juno Reactor were more “classic” dance groups that I’ve had in heavy rotation even 20 years past my peak dancing days (yeesh!). Of course, we more likely than not would have played some sort of remix for dance purposes that slapped an industrial or rave beat to greater or (frequently) lesser musical effect. Are dance remixes still a thing?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Haha I wasn’t necessarily referencing the artists you listed. It just spun my mind off in a different direction and got me thinking about K-pop vs. Metal, which is particularly interesting given metal’s huge presence in Korea during the 90’s when many of these producers likely were born or grew up.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oops, fair enough. That’s interesting about metal being big in Korea in the 90s, as it seems much diminished now as far as I can tell. I remember hearing references to an existing club scene in Seoul (in the context of links to COVID outbreaks, eek) so I wonder what styles predominate there. It’s not like the industrial-leaning stuff was the predominant dance music style in the early aughts either – if it was mainstream, we wouldn’t have liked it. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • I had no idea this was called “Latin freestyle”, all the Lisa Lisa and Expose songs and that “Let the Music Play” songs that were all over the 80’s radio. OK! Good to know!

              Lisa Lisa was in heavy MTv rotation for a long long while.

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  3. I liked Vamos way more than this… if nothing it had that music in the background which played throughout… I don’t remember many of the verses but that tune is imprinted in my head 🔥 It still felt fast and fun.

    This song… I kinda wanna ask them the question myself… What’s goin on??😂 I would say that the pre-chorus was what felt ok to me. Also I paid more attention to their voices than Vamos as the bgm wasn’t instantly addicting. Other than that I don’t know… and the dance break felt out of place for me. I would prefer no-dance-break to a misplaced one.

    Tbh I also feel then having a lot of members and not enough time to highlight them properly makes it seem messier than it should – As much as I enjoyed Vamos I thought that suffered from the same problem of how to utilise everyone. Maybe a well structured melodious song with lots of lines might work better for them than such choreo/stage heavy ones 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It was solid. And they have charisma. But It’s not either Vamos or Younger. It wasn’t vulnerable and it wasn’t very brash. I’m just hoping the rest of the album is better – pulling a CIX or Mirae.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure it reaches the obnoxious heights of “Vamos”, but I like b-side “Baila Con Ox” better than “What’s Goin’ On”. I wonder how long they’re going to keep the shouty Spanish concept going – it’s something different at least. The only other kpop artist I can think doing much Spanish recently is Chungha, and that isn’t nearly as much fun because I think she might actually speak it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Super Junior did a fair bit of Spanish a few years ago for all the Latina Elfs, with “Lo Siento” ft Leslie Grace and “Otra Vez” ft REIK. The high water mark was their shot for shot remake of “Ahora te Puedes Marchar”
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcgx832uMM

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