December seems to have become the month when K-pop groups take their victory lap. Similar to their Treasure series, ATEEZ are tying a bow on their Fever project with one final epilogue release. Our first taste comes in the form of rock ballad Turbulence (야간비행), again produced by the group’s team of frequent collaborators.
An ATEEZ ballad is an enticing prospect, especially with Jongho’s powerful vocal at the helm. Turbulence borrows many familiar melodies from the group’s arsenal, even concluding with a chanted outro that echoes much of their Treasure material. The song itself is sturdy and satisfying, drawing upon the strengths of this format without reinventing the wheel. Its through-line is straightforward. Both verse and chorus establish the same sentimental energy. I’m most impressed by the chorus, which draws upon a pleasant melody to create strong moments of climax.
The unfussy production mostly stays out of the way, but I appreciate the emphasis on guitar. ATEEZ have always had a strong rock edge, and it makes sense that this would carry into their more subdued output. Turbulence has a gritty texture, helping prevent the song from becoming too cheesy. I think it could do with a stronger finale, but I’ll always be a proponent of theatrical bombast (so make of that what you will!). In the end, Turbulence isn’t going to compete with ATEEZ’s very best material, but as end-of-the-year ballads go this is quite enjoyable.