Review

Song Review: Xdinary Heroes – Test Me

Xdinary Heroes - Test MeXdinary Heroes debuted late last year with an interesting concept but a disappointing song. So far, their music feels like a punkier version of DAY6’s idol rock, which makes sense since they hail from JYP Entertainment. Come to think of it, their big-budget music videos also have strong “fight the system” Stray Kids energy. The agency has clearly learned what works for them when it comes to male idol groups. Now, we just need to elevate the songs.

New single Test Me is an improvement over Happy Death Day (most things would be), but it still struggles to convince me of Xdinary Heroes’ greatness. The song is brash and boisterous, for sure. The guys don’t lack energy, and the bratty “test me! test me!” hook at its centerpiece spotlights their youthful contentiousness. These are all important aspects in pop-punk, but as with any genre the songs live or die on how eagerly listeners press ‘replay.’ Test Me works well enough as a vehicle for Xdinary Heroes’ rambunctious spirit. But, I’m not all that compelled to listen again.

The thing is, it’s hard to deliver this style of music within the context of an industry as restrictive and fabricated as K-pop. I don’t use those adjectives in a negative way. I’m all for manufactured pop music, as long as it’s good. But, this approach makes songs like Test Me lose some of their edge. Luckily, the band is in charge of composition and production, making their music feel a little more idiosyncratic. Test Me hints at greater things to come. Parts of the chorus are quite catchy and there’s a welcome continuity to the song’s turbo-charged energy. I eagerly await their full-on My Chemical Romance moment.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

18 thoughts on “Song Review: Xdinary Heroes – Test Me

  1. Actually, both the song and its concept are good for me. That’s no surprise, as I’ve already written in the comment section of Woodz’s “I Hate You” that I’m a big alt-rock fan.
    The chorus is a hurdle for me to rate it higher, though. Honestly, I find it a little bland and so many of its elements hint at a stronger hook.
    On the other hand, I expect the song to grow on me soon. At this moment, I’ll give it an 8.25 (7,8,9,9).

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  2. It is kinda strange to see a “fight the system” sentiment from a group from a big 3 company. Like… isn’t the system rigged in their favor? Regardless, the song was kinda catchy, but it definitely gives off “boyband from a disney/nickelodeon sitcom” vibes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • no, if you’re a day6 fan, you know how studio j, fvcks them up, and now with xdinary heroes with their stupid promotion tactics. So no, even if they’re from jyp, they’re always rigged for underpromotion because of studio j.

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  3. The MV somehow kind of throwing away the chance to fully immerse to the music, so i went straight to spotify right after watching the MV. it is miles better on audio version.
    The same case happen with O.O too.
    Im a sucker for this rock sound and they truly delivered this time.
    Would give it a solid 8.5/10

    And the whole album is an experience. I love it so much.
    a solid 8/10

    I was wondering, would we get buried treasure from you on this album?
    My buried treasure personally is Strawberry Cake or Sucker Punch.

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  4. I just don’t understand why they picked this song from the album when they had songs with much better instrumental, vocals and lyrics. The whole outsider talk coming from JYP kids is cringey, whereas Strawberry cake has a clever sweet-bitterness that feel much more fitting (kind of the same concept as some TXT songs, I have Ice cream and Drama in mind).
    Overall, I love the mini. It’s really the Day6/Stray kids combination I have always dreamed of,so I guess I’m the target audience haha.

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  5. I would not have chosen this song as the title track. The rest of the album is so SOLID. Like it’s the sound I’ve been wanting to hear from them. So if you don’t like the title track, give a listen to b sides. ESPECIALLY strawberry cake. I rate that a 8.75/10 maybe even 9/10 song. Worth a listen at least ✨

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  6. I really love this! It’s kinda crazy and I like that they are doing their own thing as a band! They are very very SKZ in the sense of humour and attitude – and I honestly love that about them! Strawberry Cake is pretty fun too!

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  7. Live live version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BegBwXoqUe8
    which sounds much better than the recorded version if only because it is so much more earnest and shaggy. Youthful exuberance.

    A few problems though – its almost too shaggy as in under-rehearsed. The volume should be louder because bands like these usually turn it up to level deafening, and that would hide the shagginess.

    Also, they are missing the one single lead charismatic vocalist who knits everything going on together to tell this story as a band, not as individuals. Sure, ok, a few of them can sing fairly well. But arrange it so that one has the lead and the others support with ad libs and harmonies. As the song is, it is too much like a typical kpop song with all the parts passed around. Trouble is as a band it isn’t performed as a typical kpop song where the person with the line pops to the front and center in the choreo.
    Or if you must pass parts around, then unify the instrumental so everyone grooves together. They are not grooving together.

    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXjf7scZtJY
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfr3L0drhS8

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    • I enjoyed reading the comments here, from the happy death day article and watched the 3 videos from this comment.

      I definitely agree with Ryooon that xh is sounding disney/nickelodean band.
      One commenter from the hdd article said, “The problem I have with “I’m so sick of the fakes” isn’t their age or target demographic but the fact that the song sounds like it was written by 5-7 guys with an average age no younger than 35 trying to remember what music they liked when they were 16. I might be able to swallow it in one of the self-formed, self-produced idol bands like The Rose or ONEWE, but as far as I can tell this group is entirely manufactured.”
      Xh has a very idol like sound. Jungsu and Jooyeon are their mains, who sing really beautifully, too. If there was a storyteller, it would fall on the two mains, but they lack the charisma (they have idol charms but not something like the rock bands). Jooyeon is more expressive, Jungsu has more force and control on his voice but both, perhaps personality wise, are not leadery. Xh could learn from other bands, like day6, and even idol dance groups who support well, too. Perhaps have either jooyeon and jungsu lead and the other support, in a subtle way. Yes, showcase both of their vocals, but let them take turns leading for the promoted singles. Their bigger problem lies in studio j and their producers to unify their instrumental. I could be wrong, but I think xh took a step back from hdd bc I didnt see it as blatantly there as with test me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes.
        I used the Talking Heads example, because the stage is equally as large as the showcase stage, and yet because there is so much energy it feels small. Despite the vast distance from one instrument to another, they play as one band. They fill the space between them with energy. And if you can’t fill space from stage right to stage left, you also cannot fill space from back of stage to high rafters, unless you turn the volume up high enough so people are stunned.

        I think they do have talent, they can play, they can sing. But they haven’t gelled into who they are as a group. They almost need to go busking, or play small venues anonymously for a while.

        I lived in southern Indiana for a while, and there was always a legend from way back about a band called COPS. If anyone saw COPS pop up on the marquee for one night only, go see them. Because it was John Cougar Mellencamp “Cougar Out Playing Secretly” testing out his new songs just at a local bar, $5 cover 2 drink minimum.

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  8. I wish they would’ve debuted with this song. It’s definitely an improvement.
    It sounds like something that could play in the background during a Scooby-Do! episode.

    (I mean that as a compliment)

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  9. Since you have the mention of them and I have a friend who’s really into them. What chemical romance songs would you recommend? Aren’t they the ones who did the black parade?

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, here’s the thing: MCR have never really stuck on one sound for a long time, they’re loosely in this post-hardcore/hard rock/maybe even emo blend but they touch on it quite a bit differently each time.

      Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge was my entry point into the band’s discography, back when I was in middle school and I memorized entire albums because I could. The “Helena” music video was the first thing I heard, and as a wannabe guitarist I was obsessed with that rapidly picked, mildly palm muted, single string intro. Though I think my favorite song these days off that record is “You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison” or “Thank You For The Venom.” Fantastic album all around.

      The Black Parade, of course, is something of their signature album, and probably their most bombastic one. I was thrown at first, as a fan of Three Cheers, I think I hated it at first but I was wrong. Of course “Welcome to the Black Parade” is their signature song and an anthem, but I really, really love “This Is How I Disappear,” “House of Wolves,” and “The Sharpest Lives”–fuck it, I love every song on that record.

      They also had a single this year, and I think an upcoming album? I’m excited.

      Honestly I don’t think there’s an MCR album I don’t recommend. I Brought You My Bullets is rawer and it’s still really good. Even Danger Days, which I really disliked at first, has grown on me. They’re fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I much appreciate the added guitar and grungier production compared to the debut. The chorus is still missing a little bit of something so I don’t really love it, but I admit this one may come down to personal preference. Still, it’s a huge step up from the debut, and I hope that one day they come up with something I wholeheartedly love.

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