I’m not sure what it says about the state of the industry, but some of the best K-pop tracks of the past few weeks have been given “dance” or “performance” videos rather than the full comeback treatment. Take Treasure’s rocky remix of Darari, for example. The guys didn’t really promote it, but the accompanying video had much of the gloss that accompanies title tracks. Now, weeks before their newest mini album drops, MCND have released a “track video” for an entirely new song. W.A.T.1 acts as a pre-release and a fun bonus for fans.
This is a nice surprise. W.A.T.1 takes influence from K-pop’s rock resurgence, tying guitars to standard boy group fare. Importantly, it maintains its sense of melody all the way through. I wonder if a song like this feels too straightforward to be a title track, given the industry’s current standards? Whatever the case, it’s a satisfying sidestep for the boisterous group, whose enthusiasm usually wins me over in spite of myself. W.A.T.1 is slightly more subdued for them, but crests with a rollicking chorus that embraces sung melody in a chant-like delivery likely to please those who have enjoyed 2022’s slate of boy group releases.
You can predict everything about W.A.T.1 from its opening guitar loop. The entire song circles around this chord progression, which bolsters its sense of continuity. Other than a brief percussive switch-up during the pre-chorus and some great vocal moments at the climax, the song simply lays down its vibey energy and bops along for three satisfying minutes. It has me curious if the group’s sound will transform on their new album.