Though Fearless could have used a bit more fleshing out in places, LE SSERAFIM’s mini album stands as one of the year’s strongest debuts. I found myself drawn to their aloof performance style and fashionable sound, and hoped their eventual comeback would build on the sound of b-sides like The Great Mermaid and Blue Flame. But when Antifragile’s teaser revealed a reggaeton-inspired beat and repetitive sing-talk hook, it became clear we were dealing with something a little different.
My reservations around Antifragile stem from the oversaturation of these sounds in K-pop. There’s only so much you can do with the same structures and samples. But, I think this song works in spite of itself. The repetitive “anti-ti-ti” hook found in most of the teasers turns out to be a post-chorus flourish, while the actual chorus stands as Antifragile’s most potent ingredient. I love the extra hits of percussion during this refrain. The energy swoops and swerves in a very satisfying way, adding to the natural charisma delivered by the girls. Honestly, this segment alone makes the entire track.
I’m less enthused by parts of the verses – especially that oddly-phrased second verse rap. But to the producers’ credit, they squeeze the most they can from the song’s thumping beat. Too many K-pop tracks surrender to multiple tempo shifts when they’d be better off finding one great groove and sticking with it. Antifragile’s beat is utterly infectious and marks a through-line that keeps the song’s momentum intact. Its consistency creates a trance-like effect that helps smooth over some of Antifragile’s more jarring elements. We’ll see how the track ages, but for now I’m surprised how much I enjoy this.