I remember Victon’s debut like it was yesterday. Not to veer completely off-topic, but it coincided with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and was overshadowed by a sense of despair felt by many of us on that night. The song itself was quite good, but I’m not sure I gave it much of a chance to grow on my playlist. Five years later, we’re all in a very different place and Victon have released a special single to celebrate the anniversary of their debut. The song arrives without member Seungwoo, who is currently serving in the military.
When I think of anniversary songs, my mind immediately conjures cheesy ballads. This has been a K-pop trope forever, and I’ll never understand why groups can’t celebrate moments with music that actually sounds celebratory. At the very least, Sweet Travel ups the tempo and energy. It’s still quite sentimental and borderline cheesy, but those aspects are better tolerated when fueled by a bounding pop-rock beat.
No other single in Victon’s discography sounds quite like this, and it’s nice to hear a track that’s light, simple and joyful. Sweet Travel doesn’t make any unexpected detours, and its formulaic nature will likely limit its long-term appeal. However, the punchy guitar and vocal hook crafts an optimistic atmosphere that works well. All elements – from vocal to rap – are integrated seamlessly to create a sunny, singalong pop song. I like the chanted effect on the chorus, which retains melody while providing a big, effusive sound. For better or worse, Sweet Travel accomplishes exactly what its title promises.