CRAVITY’s delayed comeback is marketed as the second half of their first full album, an interesting strategy that essentially amounts to two lengthy EPs. The group has released a wealth of music since their 2020 debut, but I haven’t connected with much of it. Their biggest hurdle has been a lack of unique musical identity, though that hasn’t seemed to matter when it comes to building a robust fan base. New single Adrenaline isn’t likely to make them stand out, but CRAVITY have delivered a K-pop style that really appeals to me.
With song producers jumping from one group to the next, standout comebacks can come from the most unlikely of places. I’m shocked (in a good way) to say that CRAVITY have released one of the strongest title tracks of the year so far. Adrenaline feels like a modern nod to the funk pop of groups like SHINee and Seventeen. It’s lean, mean and focused.
I often gripe about “melodic scraps” and “sing talk” in recent K-pop songs. Too often, verses (and sometimes choruses!) pass by with an aimlessness that goes in one ear and immediately out the other. Right from the start, Adrenaline knows where it’s headed. The vocals coast over a rugged bass loop and insistent kick. I appreciate the arrangement during the pre-chorus, which builds momentum without relying heavily on percussion. Then, we launch into a simple, punchy chorus. It may prove repetitive on future listens, but for now it’s hitting just right. Adrenaline briefly fools us into thinking we’re in for a second verse collapse before the beat returns for a breakneck rap interlude. We’re whisked along without interruption until the song reaches its exciting climax, finishing on a high. I’ve got a few niggles along the way, but this is easily CRAVITY’s strongest single yet.