After a couple of years spent ignoring music from the west, I’ve started to listen to more American and European pop in 2021. You can thank standout releases by big acts like Dua Lipa and The Weeknd for that. Granted, my Western pop consumption is still ridiculously small when compared to K-Pop and J-Pop, but I’m pleased that the Billboard Top 100 doesn’t feel like a total stranger anymore.
However, one thing hasn’t changed: I’m still not sold on K-pop acts entering the U.S. market with English-language material. I don’t need to know that an idol act can pull off generic Top 40 fare as well as Americans. I don’t see how that’s something to brag about. Monsta X have cobbled together a pretty decent English-language discography so far, but new single One Day is utter schlock. Off the heels of the dynamic Gambler, this track removes any hint of identity in favor of reheated melodies and flat production.
One Day sounds like a cross between Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber. I can’t think of a worse brew (even if Stay is a massive bop, and Peaches isn’t too bad either). The guys sound half-asleep during the dull verses, and when the energy perks up for the chorus their vocals are layered in a loud but disinterested fashion. At just over two-and-a-half minutes, the song has absolutely no room (or desire) to grow. It just limps forward and fizzles out. Monsta X remain great, but this is the definition of zero-effort pandering.