Song Review: ATEEZ – The Real (Heung Version)

ATEEZ - The RealATEEZ have been very intentional when it comes to their album series. Treasure had a beginning, middle and end, and Fever has followed the same approach. Kicking off in mid-2020, this project has sprawled across seventeen months. Now, we’ve reached its “epilogue” – an odds-and-ends release that wraps up the era. We heard pre-release title track Turbulence last week, and now we have an updated version of the group’s Kingdom track The Real.

I shared my thoughts about this song back in a Kingdom recap, and nothing has changed since then. This new version extends the original with more traditional instrumentation and adds a cool music video. But, there’s not much that can be done about that central drop. You’re either going to love it or hate it or simply find it monotonous. My opinion falls closer to the latter. The drop isn’t needlessly obnoxious, but it’s not all that catchy either. This new Heung Version beefs up the production here and there. I would have rather heard a complete reinvention.

ATEEZ’s music often thrives on its anthemic pre-choruses. True to form, The Real’s strongest asset is the melody that pops up during this segment. There’s some nice turns  that build energy without succumbing to formless shouting. The Real could have done with another climactic shot of this melody, bringing the track to a rousing finale. Instead, we rely on more instrumental bombast. It’s fun, but pales in comparison to the group’s best work. Sadly, I could say the same about most of their Fever material. I hope their next musical era is as daring and fresh as Treasure felt.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 8

19 thoughts on “Song Review: ATEEZ – The Real (Heung Version)

  1. Love it. Love love love love. I’ve got BTOB’s finale song playlisted too, but “The Real” is the one that gets blasted in the car. ATEEZ have nine songs on that playlist, some from Treasure and some from Fever, and I honestly don’t think I have a preference other than considering “Wonderland” the best song they’ve done so far with the possible exception of “The Black Cat Nero”.

    I’ve only listened to the KINGDOM songs so far, but am really happy to have a version of the Answer remix in particular. I didn’t care for that stage at all so haven’t rewatched it in ages, but the arrangement with La Poem is great. Wonderland was my favorite stage but the track doesn’t work that well for me without the performance. I’m about to be snowed in so I’ll work through the rest of the EP after rewatching the new MV a few more times.


  2. Ok… as a song I didn’t really care for this much either when I heard it first during Kingdom season – but this is the best song to watch!❤️ It’s so damn satisfying and the MV’s gotta be one of my favourites in a while and that’s huge because Ateez MV’s barely stick in my mind 😂 I’m a live stage fan fir Ateez but this time the MV is a banger.

    I loved how they mixed the school background of different styles. It actually gave me th vibes of this anime I watched long back – Beelzebub which had clique groups similar to the one presented in the MV 🤭❤️ It’s cool but also fun

    Honestly this is one of the most fun releases Ateez has done and I’m loving it.

    For me Audio only : 7 or 7.5 like this
    With Kingdom Stage : 8.5
    With MV : 9 🔥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad I’m not the only one who tends to find their MVs weirdly unmemorable. They do a lot of beauty shots in their videos, which is fine, lots of groups do that, but it’s not the kind of MV that elevates the music or performance, which is what gets me going back for rewatches. I’ve been doing a year-end MV review and some of the patterns are really jumping out at me. A big factor for me is “would I rather switch this off right now and watch a performance video or stage”, and this is the first time I’ve preferred an ATEEZ MV over the performance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Woah! Glad to see I’m not alone!:) You put it perfectly! All those beauty shots are really wasted when it comes to Ateez because it lowers the intensity which only breaks through on stage! I agree completely that this MV is absolutely killer – something I would definitely return to watch in the future!🔥


        • My spouse pointed out all the beauty shots in k-pop MVs one of the first times we watched a bunch of videos together. We’d started with a SKZ title track marathon and switched to A.C.E, and said he preferred the SKZ videos because they didn’t have as many beauty shots. Since then I look for the balance between narrative (not the same thing as lore or Easter eggs), performance, and beauty shots, and usually prefer the ones that focus on the first two elements. TXT’s IKILY and Kang Daniel’s “Paranoia” are two of my favorite examples of that style. OOO’s “Libido” was another good one, although narrative and beauty shot overlapped pretty heavily in that one.


  3. First they did Treasure, then they did Fever, now I hope they do something space-themed. I mean, they’ve done pirates – why not aliens? I also hope they lean more heavily into rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I waited to comment until I had the chance to listen to the old kingdom version to figure out what makes this version so much better.

    Besides being louder, because we all know that louder songs are better.

    You know how when you go to a restaurant, and a dish you make at home tastes much better. It’s not just the chef skill, it’s also the higher quantity of butter and salt which makes it taste much better.

    I’m going to say that this version has a lot more butter and salt. And also it’s louder.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Seriously one of the worst music reviews I’ve read. You absolutely missed all the additional layers added to the song. Also, it is absolutely ignorant to compare series when the music is continuously evolving. Treasure is the past. Sounds like you’re stuck in it.


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