I don’t often write about K-pop’s many OST releases, but The Boyz have filmed an entire music video for their new track Echo. The song supports the Solo Leveling webtoon, and encapsulates my general feelings about The Boyz: they’re an immensely talented group with charisma to spare, too often let down by subpar material.
This wasn’t always so. The group’s initial roll out fused their talent with razor-sharp title tracks – infectious and unique. But, 2021 was not kind to their discography. While it may not be a promoted title track, Echo continues this pattern of diminishing returns. As always, the members’ skill is omnipresent. Both the rap and vocals are super solid and I love when they all join together for the chorus. The vocal arrangement gives major EXO vibes, even if the beat leans closer to NCT. But, that’s the problem. As popular as they are, I should be able to use The Boyz’ music as a reference for other groups. Instead, a song like Echo chases the sounds of its peers in an uninspired way.
Though Echo’s “my shot’s on fire” climax elicits major eye rolls, my ears perked up at its inclusion of electric guitar (also peppered throughout the verses). More elements like this might have helped Echo stand out, but the real issue here is a lack of hookiness. The track trudges along with plenty of attitude, neglecting to find a verse or chorus that sticks in any meaningful way. I’m a little surprised, as the song’s producers (1Take and TAK) are responsible for many killer tracks. Unfortunately, this time around everything feels stuck on autopilot.