Like most new K-pop groups, DRIPPIN debuted without a signature sound or concept. Their career has been a revolving door of styles as Woollim searches for the one that will stick. The group is now lodged in a multi-part series of albums under the title Villain. Like 99% of their peers, this has painted them in an edgier light. But, January’s title track was pretty strong and new single Zero enlists the ever-reliable Newtype production team.
So many K-pop tracks of 2022 have carried a big rock influence, but Zero may just be the ballsiest example. Its distorted guitar is a near-constant presence, fueling the track with mighty texture. And, Zero doesn’t skimp on the details. It feels like a whole meal of a song, moving through a hearty two-part chorus, a standout bridge and spiky rap verses. This isn’t the style I would have envisioned for DRIPPIN, but they pull it off with flair.
From the outset, Zero feels as if it’s going to fall in line with the majority of 2022 boy group tracks – all puffed-up chests and meaningless boasts. But after verse one, the song catapults into a standout pre-chorus where leader Yunseong does his best 90’s idol impression. His vocal is so clear here, bursting with the power that used to define idol groups like H.O.T and Shinhwa. From here, Zero moves into a strong chorus. Its first refrain uses text painting to create plenty of movement before transforming into a secondary hook that quickly becomes the song’s calling card. These elements forge together to create an exciting climax, as guitar shreds and the beat becomes fiercer. It’s a ton of big, bombastic fun and a welcome June surprise.