Review

Song Review: ENHYPEN – Tamed-Dashed

ENHYPEN - Tamed-Dashed
ENHYPEN have been a frustrating prospect to watch. I was in on the ground floor, watching their formation through the I-LAND series. With huge agency support and a team of well-regarded songwriters, their music should be resonating. But every time I think they’re going to pull something spectacular out of the hat, the songs are undercut by familiar shortcomings.

On the plus side, I think Tamed-Dashed is their strongest title yet. It’s very much in the vein of fellow HYBE artists TXT: punchy power pop with a gritty dancefloor edge. It’s a summer song released in autumn, and its youthful exuberance makes a perfect match for their age and experience. I love the rock-influenced instrumental. It quickly finds a thumping beat and maintains that energy. Warped electro-bass adds a scuzzy texture, ensuring Tamed-Dashed never becomes too cloying. The songwriting is taut and catchy, culminating in an instantly memorable chorus.

However (and I know you’re sick of hearing this), the vocal performance has no color or character. Whether that’s the fault of HYBE’s awful vocal production or the guys themselves, the dull, synthetic sound makes me hyper-aware that I’m listening to a manufactured product. This doesn’t have to be a liability. Plenty of stars have made their name on selling ready-to-assemble pop songs. But, HYBE must find some way to make ENHYPEN’s vocals pop, because right now they come across as a bargain basement version of TXT and BTS. No matter how strong the music is, there’s no aural identity putting a personal stamp on it.

So, what to do with these two extremes? Objectively, Tamed-Dashed is a strong pop song with plenty to enjoy. Subjectively, the vocals mar what could be an excellent comeback. In the end, I think the positives outweigh the negatives, and Tamed-Dashed may even improve with age. After all, this style of big, boisterous pop song is practically tailored to my taste.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

59 thoughts on “Song Review: ENHYPEN – Tamed-Dashed

  1. Easily my favorite song from them yet, looks like I should have listened to you – Drunk-Dazed fell from a 9.5 to an 8.25 for reasons I still can’t decipher. That bass is oh-so-good, the song feels very much like a direct progression from Ready To Love. (Speaking of it, what’s your thought on that now?)

    I really like the melody and the chorus, and less effects are slathered on their voices than before., and for once it actually fits what they’re going for. No idea how it will age though. 8.75 from me (9,9,8,9)

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have to agree i love drunk-dazed at first listen because the chorus reminds me of run by bts (which a song i really love). But i think its lifelessness and repetitiveness make it hurt its longevity? At least when we listen to ready to love or run the voices have some character in it which gives the songs a more relatable viewpoint. But for me, I still prefer drunk-dazed over tamed-dashed.

      Like

  2. I am enjoying the song, though I do agree about the vocal processing.

    It is a step up (the processing itself) from the previous title tracks. Each track they inch closer to the vocals sounding like human vocals, but always hyper-compressed with lots of hi-mid boost.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. You’re probably right that this is their best comeback yet. I think the chorus in Drunk-Dazed goes way harder, but that’s pretty much all there is going for it, whereas Tamed-Dashed is more consistently good throughout.

    Hard agree on the vocal processing, the boys’ vocals are mixed to the point I can barely tell when a different person starts singing.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This still needs a listen on the good headphones, but generally I’ll say my pattern of quite liking ENHYPEN’s title tracks while feeling entirely indifferent to ENHYPEN as a group remains unchanged. The EP has a couple of great rock tracks buried in it – “Blockbuster” I had trouble enjoying on first listen because I was too busy thinking of all the other groups I’d like to hear singing it. “Attention, Please!” worked better, but still left me wondering why TXT didn’t want it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think that if the production isn’t as interesting as it is, I’d be less interested in this song especially since there’s nothing distinct about their vocals which I mostly blame on BigHit’s overreliance on autotune. I don’t find anything to be gripping or exciting in the track. I find it’s not quite as good as Drunk-Dazed and maybe even Given-Taken but it’s still a good pop song.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the chorus a lot, though I definitely agree on the vocal processing – it’s not bad as in annoying to listen to the way some HYBE vocal processing is, but there’s just no variation whatsoever. As others have said, it may as well have been one person singing the song.

    Drunk-Dazed has definitely aged poorly for me, because of how droning the chorus began to feel, as you mentioned in your Risers and Fallers list. We’ll see how this one fares. Also, am I the only one who finds the titles of Enhypen songs weird? Lol what does Tamed-Dashed even mean?? Given-Taken and Drunk-Dazed at least made a little bit of sense with the choice of the pairing of words, but I don’t get this one haha.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’m assuming you’re referring to TXT’s recent title tracks, but this is reminding me of how Twice’s upcoming album is called Formula of Love: O+T=<3, the formula presumably being Once + Twice = Love…

        At least from the teasers it seems the concept involves them being scientists so there's a reason, but the album name still feels clunky…

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    • Its an anagram for Add-Team-Shed.
      What that means is part of the deep Enhypen lore. If we watch the videos enough on repeat, maybe we will understand.

      … Is Squid game involved? Because I haven’t watched it yet.

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    • I don’t really know what it means but I think the combination of words is kind of sexy. So I think they were going for something that sounds intriguing and sexy. No one knows what it means but it’s provocative, it gets the people going!!!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Yeah its decent nothing remarkable unfortunately. Personally, I was actually pretty fond of their debut Given-Taken and while Drunk-Dazed has worn off on me a bit, it’s pretty good so this is probably my least favorite Enhypen title thus far.

    That being said, I heavily agree with you on the vocal point. Autotune aside, I feel like the group’s over-reliance on dance skill during the formation of the group on the I-Land has lead to them really lacking a vocalist who can actually breathe much needed life into these songs. Their performances always feel very flat and sometimes dull. They serve their purpose but don’t do much beyond that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You might be into something with that last bit. They’re great dancers, not going to deny it, but I had enough of “Drunk-Dazed” stages after two or three performances, whereas I’ll watch as many performances from MCND or PIXY as I can get my hands on, even if I don’t like the song that much.

      Liked by 3 people

        • I agree with this so much! MCND are one of the most delightful performers I have ever seen! They really enjoy the stage to the fullest and always have so much energy and charm that I never get tired of watching their stages! Their songs may not make it into my top 5 lists… but they’re high on my reliability scale because of how much I enjoy every song of theirs! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  8. their best lead single yet, but the vocal processing is still as bad imo. the album has some good songs in it, but I’m liking Go Big or Go Home’s club banger sound the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am dazed-amazed that this song has eleven songwriters credited. And I see seven guys, but only hear one amalgamation of them all.

    Otherwise, basic pop song.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I forgot what Tamed-Dashed sounded like after 2 mins. Given-Taken and Drunk-Dazed were way better. Sorry I also don’t like the vocal processing

    Like

  11. I consider myself pretty average in identifying vocalists timbres these days, no expert but no ignorant as well, and this is already the 3rd song in a row that i can barely distinguish one member from another… even in groups that will never be known for their vocals, at least a couple of different voices can be singled out but this is another level of singing without identity.

    And this gotta be one of the worst tries at lipsync that i’ve seen recently, at this point i can’t help but think that they simply are still not experienced enough as singers to even record something better.

    Or Hybe/CJ Ent are playing some kind of 5D Chess with us and we will only understand their long term strategy in the future, when looking back.

    Like

    • Yes, I also watched this this morning. The long list of names in tiny font on the credits at the beginning gave me pause.

      They’re not even trying to lipsync. Hybe also didn’t even bother to fake everyone out with a fakoh pre-recorded version on the same mics like they do with their other groups. Do they even know the lyrics? Their own part? I don’t keep track of which music show requires what amount of actual live singing, because it does vary, but clearly this show was cherry picked for the lack of any singing requirement. (Also, each show and their extremely complicated winning math, another thing I don’t follow.)

      Here, these mics aren’t even turned on.
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byy95O6qwSk

      Like

      • They aren’t singing because this is a showcase, not a music show, it’s just airing on MNET because $$. Even M-Countdown requires more live singing than this, and they don’t require a lot.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I think they’re just playing good old-fashioned “laugh all the way to the bank” chess – according to their Wikipedia page, ENHYPEN had the highest-selling debut of 2020, won three music show awards with their first CB, which debuted at number on on Oricon and 18 on Billbord 200, and pre-orders of this most recent CB are over 900k. As much as I wish one of the many other groups that I debuted in the last couple of years and who I personally consider more interesting and/or talented had that kind of success, I guess I’ll just hope for a “rising tides raise all boats” situation. I know when I started listening to kpop waaaaaaaay back in 2019, it was still an open question if anyone other than BTS could really succeed in the Western market. I think that question has largely been answered now. And they’re even singing in Korean!

      Liked by 1 person

      • This mini-rant brought to you by things I’ve been thinking about all morning, not so much targeting you in particular, @RCPL.

        Like

        • rant
          rant rant rant

          I was going to add to my rant with a snarky snark at the notion of “singing while dancing”. Yes, yes idols can sing and dance at the same time.
          OK I’m done. Moving on …

          Liked by 1 person

              • I’m particularly fond of the live stages for “Danger” – RM and Suga’s verses are excellent and the vocalists have that growl you really want in a song that rock-influenced. Plus you can really tell it’s live because whichever poor vocalist who got stuck doing the shout/chant in the post-chorus is occasionally slightly off-tempo, but he’s really going for it so it isn’t a big deal.

                Liked by 4 people

        • I totally agree with you – they built a roster that gets HYBE + CJ marketing resources, a piece of BTS unthinkable success and reputation as their “little brothers” and the explosive kind of public exposure from a reality show, a combation that screams success to the average joe stan.

          Perhaps the agencies strategy revolves around the fear that the only thing that could damage them farming these boys would be, ironically, giving them any kind of personality and creativity to push their sound off the precise manufactory happening behind the curtains. Which is sad but it’s as you said, we gotta hope for the tides to rise everyone together.

          Liked by 4 people

          • I don’t think it’s so much that the agencies think personality and creativity will hurt the group, more that they opted to go for a group that could execute current trends well rather than building around a trainee/trainees who were especially skilled at something, and then had to deal with the vagaries of survival show voting. Idol groups are by definition highly manufactured and it seems like both approaches can be successful (in either case I think leaving final lineups to fans is goofy, but what do I know). I assume the members’ personalities come out via the reality show and other content, which they can afford to produce as much of as the guys can handle, and which was/is guaranteed to get attention first because of their label and now because of their success. Assuming they stick at it for a while I’m sure several of the members will develop in one area or another– they’re already above average dancers and I assume at least a couple of them have the capacity to become talented vocalists.

            Liked by 1 person

    • If you guys are interested, the performance that started from 3:16, while obviously edited, allows us to hear some more of their different vocal tones at least.

      I don’t really think it’s lack of skill or potential that is the issue here, to be frank….

      Liked by 3 people

      • I definitely don’t think it’s lack of potential or that they’re covering up a lack of at least average rookie vocal ability – it’s clearly an agency-wide stylistic choice that’s hitting them the hardest probably because they’re the least experienced. I do think it’s unlikely they have a Seoho or a Jongho (although maybe they’ve got someone who could get there in a few years) and I’d be genuinely upset if they had a Changbin or a Castle J because that would be a waste, but many if not most fourth gen groups don’t have anyone at that level anyhow.

        Liked by 2 people

        • For me, it’s not even about covering for vocal shortcomings. Of course, I’d prefer strong vocals. But, you can get by on pure vocal character as well.

          Heck, my favorite J-pop group has a member who is literally tone deaf! Yet, a lot of the Johnny’s groups I like have so much character in their voices. You can forgive the shortcomings and bum notes because their performance feels expressive and human.

          The closest this album (which is pretty good, btw!) gets to character is “Attention, Please” — and I think that’s because they’re mostly shouting the song and can let loose a bit more than normal.

          But yeah… I’m pretty irritated that vocal blend/color/ability seems to be low on the ‘idol wish list’ for most agencies nowadays. Visuals, dance and star power are definitely given more precedence.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. The song sounded familiar, nothing that actually makes it pop at places. I totally agree with what you said about the vocal processing that has become so typical of Hybe now. But overall I think it’s good. At least they are not doing the We are the “bad boys” or girls for that matter thing. I am so done with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My introduction to Kpop was Shinee so from the get go I have had sky high or even unrealistic expectations when it comes to vocals in Kpop. They also happen to represent what I personally consider to be one of the greatest strengths a kpop group can have vocally, and that is a super distinct set of tones. If all of your members sound very similar it all just kind of blurs together, like what you get in Tamed-Dashed. Granted at this point I really can’t tell if they really sound that much alike or if it’s the production, either way it dilutes the final product.
    I think the song has a lot of great selling points, especially the rumbling baseline during the chorus. However, if I was to be totally honest the vocals really hold it back. I really wish this had been an NCT Dream song or just belonged to a group with more vocal colors.
    At this point as far as Kpop companies go I really don’t see Hybe winning me over anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You say it’s their best, I say it’s their worst. At least Given-Taken and Drunk-Dazed I wouldn’t skip if it came on. All I remember about this is that the vocals were so bad it overrode the nice instrumental for me. And I don’t blame the boys, I blame Hybe.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. feel sad when big group sell enormous albums while releasing ‘not bad’ songs. So many groups from small companies having a struggle while releasing ‘excellent’ or at least ‘above average’ songs.

    Like

  16. I really dug this. Also liked that the video didn’t get all sugary. It kept some of that Children of the Corn Cheese mystery aura.

    Liked the album, too. A couple tracks made the roller rink playlist. And they have these ridiculous pompous spoken intros and outros that crack me up like the Moody Blues or William Shatner. Flaws and all, they might be my favorite HYBE group.

    But then again I still really like Drunk-Dazed.

    Like

  17. okay i thought people were probably being dramatic when i read through the comments and saw the repeated sentiment that the members’ vocals are indistinguishable from each other. but no, i literally can’t tell who is singing when!

    the song is fun, i’m not really all that mad at anything about it, and will probably keep it on my commuting playlist for a while. but i feel like there has to be some personality and exciting vocal ability in this group, right? that the vocal processing and otherwise bad production choices are sanding the edges off of? that has to be the case? please?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m surprised this song is rated higher than i expected it to be. It’s the perfect example of an okay song, but I’m not okay with just okay because it doesn’t make me feel anything at all. It sounds like a bside in my opinion. It’s gonna be a 7.75 for me (8,8,8,7)

    Like

  19. My disgust for hybes autotune grows every day, nice song but won’t get many listens from me. Hearing a group like this makes me appreciate how much I enjoy hearing aespa’s tones.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve actually really grown to love enhypen and their title tracks. I think this one I rated similarly maybe even a 8.75 from me. If anything I feel like the boys are growing better each comeback but they are still rookies so they lack the experience that lots of older groups have. As time goes on I feel like they’ll grow into their own because I do see lots of potential in them and same goes for vocals. Its tough to sing and dance live and to hit notes that they might not be comfortable with yet. Some vocal training and a few more years of experience and I think they’ll be leaps and bounds better.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I must have a tin ear. I’ve heard two songs this year that were autotuned to the point of seriously irritating me: Permission to Dance and Cipher’s debut song (whole album actually). I guess I don’t notice until it reaches a certain level.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I should be liking this song. The instrumental is just my thing. But the vocals… they’re not even offensively bad, they’re just hopelessly transient, and the processing takes a huge chunk of the blame for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. May I suggest a b-side review of attention, please or blockbuster from their studio album? attention please has such an interesting sound almost reminding me of earlier american boy bands in combination with alternative bands such as paramore and nirvana!!

    Like

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