It’s been a dispiriting run of boy group tracks this year. Musical diversity has taken a backseat to cut-and-paste sameness. Same beats. Same attitude. Same bluster. It’s becoming a real challenge to write about these songs in new ways. There’s nothing to analyze or wonder about, and the songs are so stitched together by corporate decision-making that they tend to lack groove, warmth or life. Nobody’s having any fun or trying anything new. Mix-and-match production teams churn out a proven formula – most likely at the agency’s behest – and quickly reassemble to create the same song for the next group in line. It doesn’t feel sustainable. It certainly doesn’t capture the imagination.
Despite my tirades, I really do try to anticipate each new idol release without the baggage of the last. That’s getting harder to do, but most of these sound-alike groups manage to eke out a highlight or two when they’re not trying to copy one another. The Boyz have had a mixed track record, delivering some high highs and low lows. Sadly, the lows have been far more frequent over the past year, and new Japanese single She’s The Boss follows this worrying trend. In fact, I fear the song opens with the worst thirty seconds of their entire musical career.
This “farty brass loop,” as I not-so-affectionately call it, has worn out its welcome. The instrumental is abrasive – not in a daring punk way but in a totally predictable K-pop way. The lyrical concept is appreciated (the idol world could do with an authentic infusion of matriarchy), but the mind-numbing repetition of “boss boss boss,” “love love love” and (especially) “ball ball ball” is anything but. There’s a decent chorus buried somewhere in here. However, its pull isn’t strong enough to compensate for all the aural shrapnel you have to dodge to get there. Taken alongside Golden Child’s recent Rata-Tat-Tat, it feels like K-pop agencies are just chucking any unused track they have at the Japanese market in the hopes of a quick cash-in.