TO1 made their rebooted return with May’s Son Of Beast. That track was a lot of fun, courting the inherent silliness of the idol world with an over-the-top performance. But as cringy as the barking ad-libs may have been, the track’s foundation rested upon strong hooks and a memorable instrumental. For follow-up No More X, the guys have traveled down an edgier path that causes them to blend in with so many of their peers.
This fall, it seems like most boy groups have set their sights on blustery sing-shout delivery and pots-and-pans production. There may have been a time where this approach felt badass and exciting, but now it’s become a template. There are big-name producers behind this track, but it’s as if they’re working within the plug-and-play confines of a song that’s already been pre-assembled. I don’t know about other K-pop fans, but I’m so hungry for new ideas. It’s beginning to feel like we’re listening to the same song on repeat.
No More X opens with a brash, descending hook that will become its chorus. On first listen, I assumed this catchy flourish would act as a post-chorus – used sparingly for maximum effect. Unfortunately, there’s no additional refrain to flesh out the bombast. At worst, the hook’s constant repetition becomes obnoxious. At best, it’s a very slight effort. No More X is in need of a more galvanizing centerpiece, because no other element is memorable enough to stand on its own. TO1 punch their way through the track, bringing occasional life to the energetic rap verses. But mostly, they come across as a copy of a copy. A song like No More X tells us nothing about who TO1 want to be beyond their video’s usual dark, post-apocalyptic trappings.