Review

Song Review: &TEAM – Under The Skin

&TEAM - Under The SkinK-pop tropes continue their unrelenting push into the Japanese market with the debut of &TEAM. They’re the latest in this new iteration of the Hallyu Wave, where K-pop agencies localize their sounds with members from the target country. This way, you get the infrastructure and popularity of a label like HYBE, but the group can actively promote in their home language. I fear the overall effect this is having on the Japanese idol market, but it’s a smart move from a financial standpoint. Groups like JO1, INI and NiziU have already taken this path to great success.

In &TEAM’s case, they formed through the HYBE audition program &Audition – The Howling. Composed of new members and familiar faces from 2020’s I-LAND, the group arrives with a built-in fanbase. They also arrive with a built-in suite of composers, with HYBE-favorites Slow Rabbit, Melanie Joy Fontana and Kyler Niko all onboard for debut track Under The Skin. Occasionally, the agency gets this angsty pop-rock sound just right (most often with TXT, for whatever reason). But, Under The Skin plays like reheated leftovers.

Granted, this mix of overdriven guitars and trap beats doesn’t usually inspire me. The song plods along on a dull, midtempo energy without any fantastic melodies to break the monotony. The chorus nearly gets there, and I like how it’s heralded by a dramatic chug of guitar. But, the vocals sound like every other HYBE artist, smoothed of their imperfections and character. This makes Under The Skin feel more like a means to an end instead of the galvanizing rallying cry we need from a debut. It’s perfectly pleasant, but I see no reason for it to exist. Concept and members aside, who are &TEAM musically? They must be more than the latest product from the HYBE assembly line, and it would’ve been nice to hear that right from the start.

Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

Grade: C

24 thoughts on “Song Review: &TEAM – Under The Skin

  1. The purpose of this song is to make money. To replicate the same sound in a new niche with a new crew. Let’s be honest, this could have been come from any of them, including BTS and their soloists.

    What I really want to know is why do Hybe songs always want to tell me what is happening “In this world”. What world? What is this world that is perpetually melancholy so that mid tempos can be cranked out to fill that need? What happened to shouting to the rooftops about love and joy, peace and happiness?

    moving on …

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are definitely not thinking straight. To make money?
      You have no idea what this song is about and that it is about real events that have happened since 2020. It is very rude to make fun of a new group of artists. What’s so good about shouting to the rooftops the same old concepts of (fake) love, joy, peace, and happiness? You move on.

      You have the emotional intelligence of a frog.

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          • It was exceptional. Not a C. It was sharp and extra crisp. It’s an A to start. They sell bonded and jelled together beautifully. They should win every newcomer award!

            Like

        • Drive-by trolling, nothing to see here folks.

          I was at book club yesterday, and the book of the month was “Nectar in a Sieve” by Kamala Markandaya. It is a bit like “Grapes of Wrath: India” – the slow demise of a subsistence farming family in rural India. The fortunes are reduced so much that eventually the family is breaking rocks for a living by hand, eating from the daily temple soup kitchen handouts, and sleeping under the open air temple portico. Half of everyone dies or disappears. And yet, somehow, the author manages to set the tone of the book to be a timeless story about happiness and hope. It is somehow magical that with all the despair, the narrator still has joy in life. What if we did give in to our troubles at every step? Is this book just fooling us, love is all you need style, or is it really genuine. I want to believe it is genuine. I believe it is genuine.

          Liked by 3 people

    • i just thought the song was good to hear not a stan for hybe just passingby songs to listen. Same reaction as u when watching the mv with lyrics I was like what is it about though. Then I saw the dark moon grey city at the end of the mv and search it up perhaps u can make sense to whats it saying. They will probably release sequel like to this song to make an album of story I think??

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  2. The title of this song immediately brings my mind to the most famous line from TVXQ’s Mirotic: “I got you…under my skin.” And Mirotic this is not. Bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The song is completely fine. Also, radio-friendly. I like the vaguely anthemic feel of its centerpiece, but overall it’s just meh. Instead, it could work as a nice b-side, but definitely not the title track.
    Besides, for some reason I can imagine this song being performed by The Kid Laroi.

    As for the rating, high-7’s for me (8,8,8,7).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know, I kinda liked it! I have a weakness for this type of song, honestly, and I guess I am the target audience since I will probably eat up any pseudo-pop-rock thing HYBE puts out, especially if SlowRabbit produces it (and the video is pretty much my taste too). But, besides the centerpiece and its huge guitar, the rest is a bit bland. Especially because the vocals are really deprived of their color and the all-too-familiar overproducing is very much present. I don’t know if it’s related to the new group’s overall vocal ability or the label’s lack of confidence in it, since HYBE does this even when some of their vocalists are really talented. In this case, I found most of the vocals to be too thin.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I like the verses well enough but the chorus goes flat, and the only way I feel like that can work is if you have super grungy guitar to make up for the lack of melody. Ultimately, because of that chorus, the song doesn’t feel like it goes anywhere. Also, I think HYBE should have given this song to Enhypen.

    Like

  6. I enjoy this decently. I like this style although I think TXT has done it more excitingly and there are American artists really doing exciting things with the sound (Glaive is who I’m thinking of).

    I do wish there was something that stood out to me beyond the opening riff. I feel like the teasers were promising but there wasn’t some secret hook or melody they were gonna surprise us with. It’s all very Enhypen JPN to me, as for me, the TXT boys always have enough personality in their vocal performances.

    I feel like there are some really sootheing voices in the blend, but I agree they’ve been too smoothed out. Looking forward to what’s next.

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  7. First impression is that I like it. But then, I love the BTS of old, and the work Slow Rabbit, TXT and Enhypen have done. I guess since BTS is on hiatus, Slow Rabbit has the time to devote to a new band. I didn’t expect that piano break in the middle, then the funky, guitar-center build-up. It’s like they’re going for an almost Blood Sweat & Tears-type mini-epic. It might take awhile whether I consider it a Hybe classic, but I’m happy with it

    Liked by 2 people

    • Slow Rabbit hasn’t written any music for BTS since TxT debuted so his participation &Team’s debut has nothing to do with BTS’s hiatus.

      Like

  8. This is great. I really think this is a great debut but the only problem is that there’s no climax. I was hoping the final chorus would amp it up a bit but it’s fine. It’s still satisfying enough for me

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  9. This song samples All The Things She Said – t.A.T.u in 2002, which is a huge LGBT anthem and a great way to revive and add meaning into their song that is multifaceted. I think this song is great and can’t wait to see what they do next!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really liked this one! It was a pleasant surprise really as I expected something noisy with bad boy vibes but it grooved along so well. It seems to be a mix between a TXT and Enhypen style song with the bonus that it’s in Japanese! Yes, the Hybe processing does exist, but I honestly thought it wasn’t as jarring as many of their other works.

    Like

  11. It was exceptional. Not a C. It was sharp and extra crisp. It’s an A to start. They bonded and jelled together beautifully. They should win every newcomer award!

    Like

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