I’m not sure where calling 119 would get me in the States, but I’m about ready to call 911 on INI’s discography (metaphorically, of course!). I have a strong affinity for this group, having watched them form through Produce 101 Japan and following some of their post-debut variety. But, the guys have yet to be gifted a decent song. Debut tracks Rocketeer and Brighter were average-to-awful, and despite a promising verse new single Call 119 follows in those disappointing footsteps.
Unlike much of Lapone Entertainment’s output, I don’t think Call 119 was outsourced to Korean talent. Yet, it embraces some of K-pop’s worst tropes, simultaneously throwing too much and too little at the listener. Verse one prepares us for a fun funk-pop banger. Yes, the instrumental is a rehash of a rehash and the exclamatory “yeeeeaaaah!” is pure NCT, but I like the punchy bass and occasional touches of new jack swing. However, this good will is immediately undone by the track’s chorus.
What even is this chorus? It’s like the song gets sucked into a blender. The instrumental is overstuffed by tinny percussion and obnoxious synth loops. To use a Bias List cliché, it’s a jackhammer to the head. And rather than place any sort of hook over the top, we’re treated to the guys shouting for a few bars. There’s not really a structure to this energy, but damn is it repetitive. By the time we’re two thirds through the track, I want to shove a phone in their hands and force them to call 119 already. Just report your emergency and put us out of our misery!