Across their past few singles, fromis_9 have refined a light, groove-driven pop sound. The songs don’t have the personality that defined their earlier work, but they’re sturdy and insistently pleasant. From We Go to Talk & Talk to DM, the group feels established in both style and confidence. You know you’re gonna get a solid bop from fromis_9. New single Stay This Way is no different, though it lacks a bit of impact.
Maybe the fromis_9 template is just getting too predictable. The group has worked with the same series of producers on this recent string of singles, and that continuity is a great thing. But, the sound and composition of these songs plays things right down the middle – inoffensive to a fault. Because of this, Stay This Way is unlikely to repel any listeners. Like I said, it’s insistently pleasant. The synth-laced beat has a steady pulse and the arrangement lifts in all the right places. Rhythm guitar adds a bit of funk as the track climaxes in its earworm of a chorus.
However, when I look for moments to become obsessed over, Stay This Way comes up short. With pop songs like this, it’s important to develop hooks or melodic turns that listeners will anticipate each time the music plays. Instead, Stay This Way’s melody wafts in like a warm summer breeze. I enjoy the vibe – and fromis_9 sound great — but nothing about the track makes me want to instantly reach for the replay button.