Is it just me, or has 2022 been stuffed with K-pop debuts? They just keep coming, making me wonder if there’s a breaking point in this industry. Eventually, there just can’t be enough audience to support all these acts, right? Like many 2022 debuts, CLASS:y emerge with built-in recognition. They formed as a result of MBC’s survival series My Teenage Girl, which aired its finale only a few months ago.
True to form, their debut opts for familiar behind-the-scenes names (Ryan Jhun, anyone? Anna Timgren?) and a familiar sound. Shut Down is successful in parts, but wears out its welcome before the song can finish. I love the opening verse and pre-chorus. The resounding percussion and strong vocals remind me of Red Velvet hits like Red Flavor and Happiness. The instrumental gives off a carnival-like atmosphere that’s a lot of fun.
Shut Down’s chorus is also loud, but loses some of the verses’ appeal and focus. The rhythm becomes more intense and the melodies feel like boilerplate K-pop. In other words, there’s a ton of chanting but little substance. From here, Shut Down maintains its intensity all the way to the end. Constant momentum is a great approach, but I think the song needs some space to breathe. By the time we vault into the second chorus, it’s hard not to be exhausted. Without a bridge, the track comes to a noisy end. It’s all release but no build. On the plus side, the group seems full of potential. The vocals are dynamic and the energy is undeniable. Those are promising building blocks for more compelling material in the future.