Kicking off a season of debuts for JYP Entertainment, new band Xdinary Heroes make their first push into the market with Happy Death Day. As the agency’s second band, they have big shoes to fill. DAY6 has been a critical and commercial success, making it difficult for Xdinary Heroes to stand apart. To the group’s credit, it’s clear they’re attempting a completely different sound from their agency seniors. But, different isn’t automatically superior.
I’m not sure we’ve ever heard an idol band go this punk before, and that’s a promising avenue for Xdinary Heroes. However, Happy Death Day is not good. In fact, the silly title elicits instant eye rolls. For my American readers, it feels like something you’d see on a t-shirt at Hot Topic. Unfortunately, this loud, obnoxious energy also fuels the song itself. Punk music is supposed to be loud and obnoxious, so I’ve got no problem with the approach. But, the track is a tuneless mess. It’s like they aimed for My Chemical Romance but forgot all the great melodies that powered those songs.
Instead, we have a dismal first verse that makes vocal fry a central element for some reason. This verse rambles on until we hit the pre-chorus, which promises renewed focus. Then, the track careens into its punky chorus. The energy here is fine, but the delivery and lyrics feel whiny rather than raw and powerful. The conceit of the song isn’t revelatory or challenging. It’s just needless morose, like a sulky teenager. If that’s what Xdinary Heroes are going for, it’s going to be a struggle. The days of sulky teenagedom are long behind me, and there’s not enough musical meat on Happy Death Day’s bones to keep my interest.