It’s cool that SM Entertainment has kept its digital Station platform going. The idea launched around the same time The Bias List did, offering an avenue for the agency’s artists to expand their catalog by tackling new genres and collaborating with talent from around the industry. Love Theory pairs NCT’s Taeyong with K-hip-hop artist Wonstein. It’s a good match, and allows Taeyong to rap in a more relaxed, natural way than many NCT tracks.
Love Theory has a warm atmosphere that would be perfect for coffee shops or laid-back get-togethers. I appreciate the vibe, even if I’m not crazy about the plonky percussion. Too often in idol music, hip-hop becomes synonymous with badass posturing, and that really limits the appeal of the genre. Both Taeyong and Wonstein deliver an engaging flow, bringing the track to life with plenty of personality and a sense of spontaneity.
With that being said, Love Theory’s hook is not for me. It’s the kind of sing-song melody that always grates, and the English-language rhymes stick out in a distracting way. I imagine many listeners will enjoy the catchiness of this chorus, but for me it’s the kind of catchiness that quickly becomes cloying. Luckily, Love Theory boasts a few treats that make it worth a listen. Chief amongst these is Taeyong’s growly bridge – a performance that seems to pay tribute to the classic Yoo Young-Jin-isms that laid the foundation for SM’s signature vocal style.