It can be difficult for a band in their thirteenth year to craft music that rivals their commercial peak. This is affected by the inherent ageism in the pop industry, but even without that challenge there comes a time when a group has simply ‘been there, done that’ with most genres and sounds. Where do you go from there? Highlight’s recent releases have been solid but generic, harnessing trends with a sturdy reliability but little flair. New single Alone occasionally recaptures the magic of their best work. However, it’s let down by a weak series of hooks.
Alone coasts on the kind of groove-driven instrumental we’ve heard many times this year, but it earns extra points by keeping the energy brisk and funky. The verses are especially sticky, with rhythm and vocal combining to create a smooth entry ramp into the chorus. The arrangement pulls back briefly before injecting guitar for more texture and drive. It’s a familiar trick that’s been rendered largely unimpressive in the absence of a great melody, and this is where Alone begins to feel less impactful.
Highlight give a great performance, but the chorus has a workmanlike structure that doesn’t do much for the track. It hinges on a repeated line that lacks the highs and lows of a great refrain. Instead, Alone relies on the strength of its groove to compel attention. In this regard, it’s slightly above average when compared to its many peers. But, I don’t see this having much staying power.
Solid Song! with two capital S’s. Sure it isn’t the most original, but it knows what it wants to be, delivers exactly that, and then doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Solid 8.5 for me.
Got7 “You calling my name” came around the shuffle the other day, and darling daughter said “What is this?!”. This song has a similar vibe to me as that GOT7 song, like they are two themes from the same sonata.
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Slightly off topic:
This showed up on my feed this morning, 2 weeks after its release. Luli Lee “Flame”. The song it self is cool and mellow, But the instrumental is fantastic. Great bass playing, great guitar, great voice. Who is this Luli Lee? So I googled around. SHE is the bassist, and the singer.
Well, hot damn. Fy-Ah!
I have a new favorite song for Oct22.
I don’t have any history with this group, although I liked Not the End quite a bit. I’ll take this kind of solid predictability over a 4th-gen bg shout-a-thon anyday.
I disagree. This song is a refreshing tune compared to all the other noisy songs in Kpop in the last few years. But hey, personal preferences, right?
It’s a song… that’s all I can say about it for now. Waiting for the live stages. The MV was kind of boring so it may have influenced my enjoyment of the song. It was strangly heavy on the vocal processing considering how good Highlight are, but that’s been a common theme this year for many good vocal groups.
It’s nice to see them back, since “Beautiful Night” and “Good Luck” were instrumental in getting me into K-Pop. I agree with pretty much everything you said here. I find myself preferring the verses compared to the chorus.