Review

Song Review: GHOST9 – Control

GHOST9 - ControlWhen it comes to idols, putting a number in your group name is like the kiss of death. With few exceptions, these groups always seem to lose a member or two. Such is the case with GHOST9, who are now GHOST7 after the departure of members Dongjun and Taeseung earlier this year. Beyond that, the group has had a weird run so far. After debuting with a darker, edgier sound, their music has become brighter over time. This culminated in the very good (but very out-of-character) Up All Night this June. For better or worse, Control pulls them back toward angst.

Last year’s Think Of Dawn was an unexpected highlight, proving these moody, formulaic boy group tracks can be a blast if bolstered by a strong chorus and gutsy performance. In comparison, Control feels under-realized. It’s the most generic title track the guys have released, joining their peers (The Boyz and TO1 say hi!) in shouty dramatics.

To be fair, there’s a bit more going on under the hood of Control. The instrumental holds fun surprises, like the cool use of piano and chugging guitar in verse one or the odd punch of dubstep synth in the chorus. I just wish the percussion didn’t feel so canned. A song like this calls for more than a simple drum machine. Why not opt for timpani to accentuate the orchestral influence and deliver a warmer texture? While Control casts off some decent spikes of melody, its overall construction lacks the towering appeal of past glories like Think Of Dawn or W.ALL. The group’s strong vocal line perform it with gusto, but for me, this is an “almost – but not quite – there” effort, and the weakest of their five titles so far.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

16 thoughts on “Song Review: GHOST9 – Control

  1. Noooo. I’m just 30 seconds in and I don’t like where this is going. I love ghost9- but I hope they don’t start to funnel into the common trends.

    I will make sure to take a listen through their b sides. I typically fall in love with their albums as a whole. Despite the title track not being my style, I hope the b sides grasp my attention.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay I listened to the whole song. The PRECHORUS sounds powerful. It grabs me. The chorus isn’t as strong as I think it should be. Especially compared to their past title tracks where the chorus is the star of the show. However, the final chorus is very nice. I wish that energy was in the rest of the track.

      Furthermore, the verses just don’t do much for me. My mind begins the wander. Ahhhh. Overall, not their strongest work.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. B sides:

    Triangle- It’s not gonna be for everybody, but it kept my on my toes. The constant changes and sudden removal of instrumental at times made the song very interesting. It also let their vocals take a front seat. A good take at EDM. Simple, yet chaotic.

    Love language- out of their three softer and more melodic songs, I like this one the best. It’s the most reminiscent of their previous sound. I could see it being on their last album actually. It’s pleasant. It doesn’t surprise me or shock me- but a good foil to their title track.

    Dreaming- it’s a nice song, but I’m just not always a ballad person. So this wouldn’t be my favorite.

    Cosmos- I appreciate the chorus since it was more upbeat than I was expecting. The has a slow start, but the verses and song after the first chorus are dynamic and flow nicely.

    The album as a whole isn’t strong as previous albums. I sadly have to call this their weakest album, BUT I am happy they still have some b sides that can make me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, I’m perfectly happy with this. Personally, “Seoul” is my least favorite of their titles and I like this better, although I agree that the drum machine is unwelcome. Maybe it’s because their b-sides have been so consistently good, but I don’t find their musical trajectory to be all that odd. If anything, the fact that it feels like there has been an intentional trajectory is a nice change. On first listen I think the album is stronger than “Now: when we are in love” but more listens are necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suppose I have a soft spot for the Now: when we are in love” album. It gave me happy walking music to class. But I would love to hear others thoughts on the b sides of the albums! I am not too knowledgeable with the interworkings of music, so my pleasure is very subjective. Thus, I would love to know what others like (or dislike).

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      • I can’t fully remember all their B-sides but I will say the “Pre-Episode 1: Door” tape is still in rotation for a me even over a year later. I was also a big fan of the “NOW: Where are we, here” tape from earlier this year. The Seoul, Uno, Stavoy run is damn near unrivaled for me this year.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Every single track on NOW: WWA,H is solid, especially those three, but for me they don’t top either Pre Episodes’ runs of “Think of Dawn”, “Reborn” and “It’s gonna be hot” and “Wall”, “Red Sign” and “Focus”. That said, both have tracks I’m less fond of whereas WWA,H is solid all the way through.

          Liked by 2 people

    • They’re musical identity has been pretty consistent other than the weird detour they took with “Up All Night”. Which is my personal least fav title by them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Even though Ghost9 has done dark before, this song is the least Ghost9 sounding title (even the bright Up All Night still had the elements of a Ghost9 song). I think Billlie’s song sounded something more like Ghost9 would put out than this one

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well I like it! (Oooh, but is it a small l or Big L Like? Time will tell.)

    OK, so, they play it safe. The chorus is sung as a chorus. Super Junior do this all the time, so its a pretty good strategy. The bulk of the song is what I usually A to A. Here That Note in the chorus is G#. Occasional flourishes higher, with the break belt note at a high C. Its missing their low low notes, the ones which just kill me in their “Reborn” from last year.

    What that means here is most of them can sing it pretty well, so they aren’t stuck with one guy on a good day. They also seem to be able to sing it live live. It isn’t the most dynamic song, but it is a good solid basic song well delivered. There is room to add more if they do hit a Kingdom like stage with this one.

    That said, “Starvoy” is way better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if low note guy was one of the two that left. For all that I have a very high opinion of Ghost9’s music, none of the individual members have ever stood out to me much.* Which works out in this case because their sound hasn’t changed the way it would if it had been focused around a stand-out singer or rapper who left.

      *Which is not to say anything bad about them – the majority of idols under the age of 20 or so don’t tend to stand out to me much, and there’s nothing wrong with having a balanced musical and performance style.

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