After a less-than-stellar debut, rookies Ciipher rebounded big time with last year’s excellent Blind. That song’s composition had member participation, which seems indispensable for this group. Judging from the highlight medley of their newest album, the strongest-sounding songs are the ones where the guys themselves are most involved. Self-composition isn’t a skill to be taken lightly, and I hope they’ll be encouraged to flex those muscles more often.
New single Fame also has member participation, but only on lyrics. The rest of the song was outsourced to producers who have worked on many boy group tracks. This is obvious to hear, because Fame sounds like a hodgepodge of a dozen stronger songs. We’ve got the 90’s house that SHINee played around with in 2018, the fashionable dance beats of AB6IX and the maddening tempo changes that mark too many other comebacks. Fame has its moments, but they’re few and far between.
The song’s biggest issue is those aforementioned tempo shifts. Longtime readers know this is a pet peeve of mine. I hate when pop music sputters and stops and never settles on a decent groove. It feels like the instrumental is killing time, and when the beat finally drops in the post-chorus it’s too little too late. Ciipher sound great on the track and it’s clear they have so much potential. But, Fame drags more than it soars. Its ticking, tinny percussion is at odds with the song’s sleeker moments, creating a frustrating, inconsistent product.