Review

Song Review: Xdinary Heroes – Happy Death Day

Xdinary Heroes - Happy Death DayKicking 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.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.75

55 thoughts on “Song Review: Xdinary Heroes – Happy Death Day

  1. I was a hot topic teen in 2006 and proudly joined MCR in the Black Parade. I went to Warped tours, then eventually got into the DIY scene and became unfortunately pretentious for a bit. Through pop, I have realized that along the way, all that mattered the most to me, musically, was an awesome song, regardless of genre or scene.
    This makes me a critical listener when it comes to the current crop of nouveau punk and emo filtered through the contemporary pop market. Olivia Rodrigo and TXT have put out amazing songs, in my opinion.

    So I really don’t like this and couldn’t get through it on my first listen. There’s just nothing musically to hold onto. The tra la la la thing doesn’t sound good to me.
    Don’t want to compare them to Day6 but coming from JYP, I will. Day6 is melodic to a fault, but I will gladly take a half-baked Day6 ballad over this any day. It seems Xdinary Heroes just exist to fill an upbeat hole Day6 hasn’t been able to for a couple of years.
    I agree with the sulking teenager note but this also feels very “we love the Joker, why so serious?” vibe. I can’t stand it, such a turn-off. disappointing and the seals the envelope that this was not JYP’s best year, musically speaking.

    Liked by 5 people

    • i agree with you, i didn’t like the song very much but day6’s ballads are masterpieces. they also have more rock-ish sounds in some of their songs, like headache, 121u, and breaking down. i don’t think you fully stan day6, if you think their songs aren’t upbeat or anything. i do stan xh though, i just don’t like their song.
      stan day6 and loona <33

      Liked by 1 person

  2. .
    Its in the bucket known as “Trying to hard”.

    Its trying to be punk with any actual, yanno, punk.

    Speaking of pirates and punk, here is one of my favorite pirate punks. iirc the entire band quit soon after, or thereabouts. And got a grammy nomination despite it. Now that’s punk.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So everyone else thought of MCR too, eh? This sounds like a 4th gen BG songwriter tried their hand at writing an MCR song and ended up with the facsimile of a b-side from those Danger Days rejects singles, and that, believe it or not, is a compliment on my part. Too bad the release was just a single, bc I was interested in seeing what else they’d put out. Not to be mean or anything, but I’ll take any half-baked punk song over the vast majority of Day6 any day.

    (How’s the band name supposed to be pronounced, btw? Hangul gloss, pls?)

    I don’t quite like it but I don’t dislike it either. The title may be crappy but singing “happy worst day” sounds cool if you don’t analyze it for too long.

    (Oh, who am I kidding, I’m gonna be tralalahaha-ing my way through the week now. Fitting payback for my sister mugunghwa koch-i pieosseubnida-ing me into catatonia, now that I think of it.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • They did an “It’s Live” performance and it sounded like “Ex-inary” in their intro – the “d” kind of got swallowed or dropped.

      Like

  4. Such a strange first choice of single. Punk can still be punk and be melodic and catchy this song just isn’t it for me. I still hold out hopes as at least it shows they’re willing to take a risk with this group which I think is a positive. I could almost see myself liking it if it just came together more cohesively, it just feels like a lot of random ideas thrown together but not really blended. Fingers crossed for the next song.

    Like

  5. Noooooo!

    I didn’t even know that they were debuting today, and now I kind of wish I was still unaware. Here’s hoping they turn things around — my top 3 artists on Spotify Wrapped were all Korean bands this year, so… this is my niche! Fill out the list! …Please!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alright so as someone whose Rock familiarity mainly stems from whatever RYM-core albums I forced myself to like when I was 15, I don’t really care for it BUT i like that the sound deviates from what most K-bands put out. Can’t really think of a k-band that’s leaned into a pop-punk oriented sound like this before. While this is a pretty meh rendition of that sound, if they continue this going forward then I think we’ll see some better results hopefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The closest I’ve heard a k-band do this sound is probably Rolling Quartz, whose entire output so far is a December 2020 debut single and a few covers, which is too bad because I like their sound a lot and the k- scene needs more punk ladies.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I may be the only one, but I do not get the MCR references people are commenting. To me it sounds nothing like them lmao. Also it really isn’t loud imo, it’s still got a massive pop undercurrent.

    My gripe with this is that it sounds like a idol song molded to fit a band. Its got those unnecessary tempo changes that plague kpop songs these days. BUT I do appreciate them not going the usual k-pop band/k-indie route. It made me want to play it again, unlike 90% of k-pop band/k-indie. If they ditched the k-pop noodlings, they could ride the pop punk wave that’s hitting all over the world rn. They certainly seems talented, it would be a shame to waste them on songs that don’t necessarily fit them.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yup, the whole setup here screams Danger Days! to me. And, years later, that album also screams K-pop! IMO.

        Debuts are always hit and miss, but I really really hope these kids keep up with this sound. God knows I’ve been waiting for the return of the Killjoys 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    • Agree 100%, even the single cover on Spotify looks so bad and cheap, I genuinely feel bad for the boys (even though I know nothing bout them), who would expect to debut in one of the biggest ent. companies with this?

      Like

      • Yeah the graphic design here for the cover is horrible. Haven’t had a chance to watch the mv yet but i wouldn’t be surprised if it followed the theme of being low-budget too. Pretty shocking from JYP as they do like to go big, but then again the lack of investment here isn’t really surprising considering i heard nothing about this group from JYP until after they debuted 😬 Hope that some more thought is put into their first physical release..

        Like

  8. I actually love this song, I don’t know why it has such a bad rep. Yes it’s different but at least for me, that’s what makes it good. It isn’t like most songs, it’s destinctive, the vocals are good and overall I think it’s a great song.

    Like

  9. I’ve listened to the song multiple times by now in the hopes that something would change my opinion of it but it’s just not. I’m quite disappointed with it. I was very much looking forward to how these guys would sound because after all, it’s not everyday that you see a rock band debuting in the K-pop scene. They seem like talented individuals so I’m really hoping I get to enjoy some of their music in the future but this was a complete miss for me. I don’t see the My Chemical Romance resemblance in the sound of this first single but they definitely were aiming to give similar vibes… it’s just a matter of taking a look to the title of the song, the lyrics of it and concept photos. Which isn’t something bad at all. I guess I’m just over that teenage bitterness but some may be not.

    In a more positive light, my disappointment brought me over for the first time to the comment section!
    I’ve been reading the blog for almost two years now. So, uh… yeah. Hello!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am an antichrist and I am an anarchist! Punk really got a glowup here. It may be a bit overearnest, but I appreciate how different it is from the rest of k-pop. And, in the words of the young, it slaps. I’ll be curious to see what they do next.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I personally loved the song, but I can see why it’s not to everyone’s taste. It’s fun and catchy, but I recognize that it isn’t a musical masterpiece (and that isn’t a bad thing!). I think as they grow into their sound, there will be a MASSIVE improvement. Remember, this is just their debut. I have high hopes for them

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m a little disappointed since I really don’t like this and I was interested in their debut, but I have hope for their future and will look forward to their next comeback. Like others have said, their sound has promise even though I don’t like this particular song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ehhhhh
      didn’t really like this release
      it’s giving stray kids, i hate stray kids with a passion </3
      ngl if flop chan wrote this song i wouldn't be suprised

      Like

    • As the self-proclaimed spokesperson for OMEGA X’s TBL fan club, the main difference for me is that OX’s tracks start at 11 and stay there almost all the way through, only briefly pulling back to an 8 or 9 before building again. Even when the farty brass loops aren’t actively assaulting your eardrums the riff is still going in only slightly less obnoxious synth percussion/flutes/whatever. It’s like the musical equivalent of the feeling I’d get doing a mile of sprint intervals – exhausted and energized at the same time. XH show promise but aren’t there yet.

      Like

      • As someone who also enjoys omega x vamos, i agree with you. Vamos is obviously more cohesive too because of the reasons you mentioned above like even without the brass loops there’s some continuity and connectedness

        Like

  13. I like that they’re doing something different,but this song is a miss for me. The chorus is really obnoxious. It sounds like they took part of the banana splits theme song and threw in a pg-13 horror movie together and called it a day. Unfortunately, I can’t really remember the rest of the song besides the vocal fry part in verse 1 which I actual liked just because of how weird it was. Maybe the next song will be better.

    There was one voice in the group that had a tone I really liked, I have to figure out who it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Okay, I liked a lot of this and I like that they’re going in a different direction from current k-band trends, but I like my obnoxious to keep up the energy and this kept losing me. I’m just going to use SAI’s phrasing above and shake my fist at the current plague of unnecessary tempo changes in k-pop.

    I don’t mind most of the lyrics, although I also thought of the movie and would have liked them to go more full goofy, “Very Good” style, or even TMBG’s “Older”, which an ex gave me on a birthday mix CD and remains my favorite birthday song of all time. They did a stage on “It’s Live” that reminded me that they are really wet behind the ears – the lyric that really doesn’t work for me is “I’m so sick of the fakes”, because really JYPE? I’m sure they’re do fine though, and I’ll keep an eye on them and see if they grow into those leather pants over time.

    Since I was there already, I pulled up my favorite rock-influenced “It’s Live” stage, A.C.E’s “Favorite Boys”, speaking of the somewhat rare idol group that’s actually been through some shit and earned their leather pants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, they look so cuuute in that It’s Live video. These boys I mean. Their lead guitarist looks a tad… twitchy.

      BTW, I thought these were the kids from LOUD. Where did this band come out from?

      “the lyric that really doesn’t work for me is “I’m so sick of the fakes”, because really JYPE? I’m sure they’re do fine though, and I’ll keep an eye on them and see if they grow into those leather pants over time.”

      Seriously now, that sounds like standard teen-oriented rock band lyricism. Where they lost me is during the “run for your life, run for your life” that seems to be everywhere nowadays. I swear there must be a book in Korea called “English for Lyricists.”

      Like you, I’m holding out for more substantial fare, but the tunes in their teasers give me reason to look forward to whatever they’ll be doing next. Right now though I honestly think they sound like a cross between late career MCR and 5 Seconds of Summer😆 I hope they don’t linger there for too long.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is that the pink-haired guy? I noticed him and the keyboardist to his (stage) right being especially adorable. And I totally don’t mean it in a bad way – they’re clearly super excited and that’s great! I kept thinking that their spokes-drummer had watched prior groups doing their first It’s Live stage and promised himself he wasn’t going to say anything about how big the studio is, but they were totally all thinking it.

        I thought they were the guys from LOUD at first too until I saw that they were a band. As far as I can tell from kprofiles JYPE’s been collecting these guys for a couple of years and figured they could pull in enough of those shiny new SKZ fans who are too young to know who DAY6 are without a ton of promotion. Which going by YT views alone seems to be working out okay.

        The problem I have with “I’m so sick of the fakes” isn’t their age or target demographic but the fact that the song sounds like it was written by 5-7 guys with an average age no younger than 35 trying to remember what music they liked when they were 16. I might be able to swallow it in one of the self-formed, self-produced idol bands like The Rose or ONEWE, but as far as I can tell this group is entirely manufactured.

        Like

        • IIRC correctly, they said they’re ‘self-produced’, so perhaps the guilty party are actually the 6 16yo boys who had to be reminded they’re playing for an overwhelmingly female audience so that they didn’t go all in guitars blazing and screaming like Olly Sykes.

          (Then again, one of them said on VLive they’d like to collaborate with Imagine Dragons, so… 😬)

          Liked by 1 person

    • =Fair Warning=
      My forthcoming year end list will be almost by play count on my ipods / itunes. Almost.
      It seems darling daughter took a liking to the remixes of ACE Favorite Boys, the Steve Aoki and the other one. One showed up in positions #4 or 5?! and the other in midteens. With a deft editorial touch, I will be placing them on my “Honorable mention list”.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. i actually like this lmao maybe its because i’m not from the same generation as my chemical romance fans (who clearly take umbrage at this song)

    the guys sound like theyre having fun, not taking themselves seriously and thats all i can ask for from a kpop song

    Like

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