The other day, I was reminiscing about ENHYPEN’s October title track Tamed-Dashed. I realized I would’ve appreciated it even more if it had been released during the summer. But since K-pop boy groups are apparently limited to one sound only in 2022 (ie: shouting), we’re treated to the blustery Future Perfect (Pass The Mic) instead.
According to the agency, Future Perfect is inspired by the Chicago Drill movement in rap music. Please, K-pop… I beg of you. I know you love appropriating genres from around the world, but some things are just beyond your scope. This style is doing the ENHYPEN sound – with its hyper-processed, mushy-mouthed vocals – no favors. Rap is a potential gold mine for a group as choreography-focused as they are, but the producers need to lay off the vocal effects. Most of Future Perfect sounds as if it’s being performed by robots, which directly counteracts the rawness that should be at the heart of a track like this.
Because of this, the song’s strongest elements (that brass!) become buried in a muddled mix. Rather than sound crisp and dynamic, Future Perfect feels like some guys shouting from the other side of an old phone. The experience is meant to be widescreen, but the mixing constrains it. And because we live in 2022: The Year Without a Chorus, there aren’t any melodic hooks to pull us out of the claustrophobic arrangement. Instead, we move from shout-rapping to shout-singing to… shouting. It’s a shame, because in other hands I could see this becoming a fun energy-booster.