Review

Song Review: RoaD-B – Nonstop

RoaD-B - NonstopSound the alarms! We have a K-pop emergency. Sweetune – yes, the Sweetune – have returned. They’re hunkered down in a bunker so nugu I didn’t even find them until the song was brought to my attention on twitter. But, they’re back nonetheless and RoaD-B’s Nonstop has raised my K-pop spirits just when they needed it the most. I don’t even care about the cheap music video or the weird group name. It’s Sweetune!!

I thought I knew how much I missed this style of production, but the full brunt of that wistfulness didn’t hit me until I heard Nonstop. The thing is, this isn’t even a legendary Sweetune track. But, it does so many of the things I love about their production and composition… and it does them within a K-pop environment that has moved on to vastly different approaches. To me, Nonstop is like an oasis in the middle of a desert.

First, we have the vocal arrangement. It’s clean and crisp and draws the best from the performers. It’s layered when it needs to be and makes room for both quiet and forceful moments. You know… dynamics. The production is just as polished. There’s a fullness to the instrumental, even during its less robust turns. I love the symphonic synths that fuel the track – especially that icy wisp of keys that elongates to form a constant presence. It supplies such tension and keeps the tonal switch-ups from feeling jarring.

Then, we have Nonstop’s melody. This isn’t a particularly showy track, yet thrives upon a sense of focus and repetition. While so many of today’s K-pop tracks cast off melody lines as if they’re disconnected scraps, every piece of Nonstop is intentional. Each little turn and curve of the structure contributes to the whole, creating a song that’s catchy all the way through without ever feeling overdone.

I still don’t quite know who RoaD-B are (apparently members from the short-lived BXK?). I don’t know if this will be their only single before succumbing to small-agency budget drama. But OH MY GOD SWEETUNE. Give me a moment to fan all the way out. These treats don’t happen all that often anymore, making them all the more *sweet* when they do.

Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.25

52 thoughts on “Song Review: RoaD-B – Nonstop

  1. First of all, this song is incredible and that 9.25 is deserved.

    Secondly – have we gotten confirmation that this actually IS Sweetune? All I’ve seen is the YouTube description (via Google Translate), which almost made it sound like the composer worked with Sweetune in the past… or something. Couldn’t quite make out whether this was officially part of their catalogue.

    Either way, what a tremendous track!

    Like

  2. I feel like this could have really been something special if the performance and (surprisingly) the mixing was stronger. The whole thing seems a bit muddled. But boy does it sound incredible when it catches fire!

    Like

  3. Happy to know you enjoyed this track a lot Nick!
    Techincally Sweetune have been active, like in WEi’s ‘Too Bad’ or KEEMBO’s tracks, or even IZ*ONE’s Fiesta! But honestly I wouldn’t even know they participated in composing those tracks (mainly ’cause they were working with a whole bunch of other composers). So hearing the classic Sweetune approach in a 2022 track is what got me so happy!

    Fingers crossed this is a sign for a grand Sweetune comeback?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I only advocate streaming if it supports songs like this. Stream this song to have the industry know what they need to release!… Just kidding!.. but I desperately want more people to know about this song and have it be popular. Maybe then, it will change the industry’s perspective of what they need to release. It’s a small hope though.

    In all seriousness, this is a standout track I’ve been craving for. Definitely one of the top tracks this year!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, hot damn, we finally have a hot one.

    First, the song announces itself right at the get go, and I love it when songs do that.

    Then it settles in, and so far so good.

    A little more ways in, that little shift at 0:46 just kills me. It is just so unexpected and yet so perfect. Along the way more and more little shifts – its like a textbook of how to incorporate disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Charms along the way yet they all tuck into the main idea so nicely.

    Whoop whoop! Almost a 10 for me.

    If I have a complaint, it is that the song is not yet up on US itunes.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Took me two listens, but I’m hooked and in love with the song. Definitely deserves its rating and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick gives it a 10 by the end of the year.

    With the release of this specific boy group song, I’ve realized that my meagre list of 9 girl groups songs for 2022 is probably missing a lot of boy groups not by virtue of them being extremely weaker but because I haven’t really taken a good real listen to them. This blog usually informs me of most releases, but I took a break from reading the blog for a bit. And for a while I just let myself miss releases cuz I was busy or just wasn’t interested.

    Now I’ve gone back and actually listened to most of the BG songs and well I’ve been missing out certainly.

    ROAD-B – Nonstop
    CRAVITY – Adrenaline
    YOUNITE – Everybody
    DKZ – Cupid
    Tempest – Bad News
    VICTON – Chronograph
    DRIPPIN – Villain
    TAN – Du Du Du
    TVXQ – Epitaph -for the future-
    MAX CHANGMIN – Maniac
    WONHO – Eye On You

    Definitely more than just a few. Nonstop is definitely the best of all of them. I’m not sure I’ll actually end up listening to some of them more than once, but these definitely stand out from their contemporaries. Honestly, I’m most mad that I missed Eye On You. That song will definitely hit my playlist more often I swear.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha poor Sweetune though! Their music deserves ALL the bells and whistles. Special effects, costume changes, lore, post-credit sequence, etc etc…

      But yeah, it’s nice to see the priority put on the song for once.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, craft store sweats and probably reusing their old school uniforms don’t have the same flair, but it’s well put together in spite of its limitations, and the song is strong!

        Like

  7. I’m not hearing it. Sounds like every other boy group song except for the 80s style synths that sound half way like they’re going to start Platonic Loving up the place before pussying out and burying it in the background.

    If this was not by Sweetune and instead by some other people would you be praising it as much?

    Like

    • Hard to say, because if it wasn’t by Sweetune I don’t think it would sound like this. It might draw on some of the same elements, but the execution is so idiosyncratically *them*. From the structure of the melody to the techniques in the arrangement, it’s just unmistakable — at least to me.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Weird experience because I had to get to the end of the song to realize I liked it. Second listen I was obsessed (actually it helped me not to see the MV this second time, just listen to the music).
    I don’t insanely love it but I really like the direction that this type of music can take, especially that dramatic chorus was great.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anyone else getting slight Robyn – “with every heartbeat” vibes from this?

    The way it keeps bubbling under and building but never hits that huge payoff? It’s a technique we don’t hear often in pop music, but it can work so well.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I resonate with the mood of “I don’t know who on earth these boys are but the song’s a real banger”!! 😭❤❤

    I think the biggest reason why I drifted away from kpop and towards Japanese songs was the instrumentals. I never felt that same satisfying depth and soulfulness in kpop instrumentals but damn this one just hits so good! ❤ A very full experience on headphones!!

    Though I confess I paid very little attention to the boys or the MV because I was too focussed on listening… I had a feeling once I looked too much at the warehouse I might not feel the song that deeply lol.

    Is it wrong that I’m low-key wondering how this would have been if performed by a mature vocal powerhouse group? 😭 I admit I don’t know anything about this group and being someone who listens to all kinds of new bg left and right, I’m pretty accepting really lol.

    Also…. was nice to read you excited review 😀 I can almost imagine you jumping on the sofa and screaming in happiness as you wrote this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do wonder if I would like this more if it were done by a more established group with stronger vocals (or stronger vocal mixing) and had a better MV. Kpop is very much a visual experience for me and I’m too distracted by the green sweats and Amazon fulfillment center setting (maybe the group is trying to unionize?). This sound isn’t really my thing but I can certainly understand why people on this blog love it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I understand what you mean. I suggest just listening to the audio version actually. It made me appreciate the song more without the MV! I agree with the visual experience aspect but over the last year or so I learnt how to tune out the MV for some cases when the song itself has great potential 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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