Song Review: ATEEZ – Paradigm

ATEEZ - ParadigmATEEZ may have only made one Korean comeback this year, but they’ve been more prolific in Japan. Following May’s release of b-side-turned-single Rocky, they’re back with Paradigm. This song leads re-recorded Japanese versions of tracks from their recent The World Ep.1: Movement mini album. I’d be remiss not to mention the huge missed opportunity in not promoting the blistering Cyberpunk. Heck, even the thrilling intro track of this new Japanese album deserves attention.

As for Paradigm? Well, its title is appropriate. The track is a typical example of current ATEEZ tropes and boy group trends in general. Three years ago, ATEEZ led a vanguard of new acts ushering in a new K-pop era. This sent their popularity soaring. But, being on the cusp of a movement has its dangers. Over the past two years, their sound has been copied by so many other groups that it’s lost most of its bite. Without evolving into something new, ATEEZ run the risk of succumbing to the shadow of past glories.

Unfortunately, Paradigm is not the song to usher in this evolution. It opens with a whistle before lurching into a familiar brew of skittery percussion and electronic samples. These sounds become more prominent during the chorus, which melds a halfhearted melodic chant to a series of distorted bleeps and bloops. It’s at once overstuffed and underwhelming — a pretty apt description for many tracks in this genre. Paradigm runs through several distinct segments, shifting energy and tempo but never finding a hook you can sink your teeth into. It feels more like an obligation than a highlight and is far from the emotional grandeur ATEEZ have proven themselves capable of.

Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

Grade: C

15 thoughts on “Song Review: ATEEZ – Paradigm

  1. Basic O-kay pop.

    I have determined that my year end ranking will still start with playcount from my ipod/itunes, lightly normalized for earlier versus later in the year. Then I will shuffle up or down based upon if
    1) I spontaneously sing along to the song
    2) I can name the artist + song title easily
    This song will not be on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Out of curiousity and interest, how would you do the normalization? I’ve always played around with the idea of doing something similar but never got around to do so.


      • “Light normalization” is not an exact science. In theory one could do math, divide by release months, but we are not linear listeners. 5 plays in October is not the same as 50 plays since January. 2 plays since Sept is not the same as 16 plays since February.

        This is what I do:
        Open up itunes Library, open up Excel. On itunes Library have columns such as Name Artist Plays ReleaseDate PurchaseDate LastPlayed visible, others as well if you want. Sort by PurchaseDate, and select-copy all from today back to about late Nov21. (… because some releases do not have ReleaseDate populated). Copy into Excel. Make a copy of that worksheet – one for raw export, one to play around with.

        The goal is to get it down to about 40 songs plus a few honorable mentions. On the working worksheet, progessively sort and cull and (sometimes) delete. The sort feature on Excel is your friend.

        Sort 1: Sort first by ReleaseDate – get rid of old stuff. I usually do artist next to delete non-kpop, then Plays to delete all zero plays (instrumentals, boring b-sides, etc), perhaps even those with only 1 or 2 Plays.

        Sort 2: Then I have a close look at sorting by Plays. Your top ten should have some play count differentiation, but then there will be a long tail. For me, I have a 20-way tie for 20th place, all with same Plays. My 20th-plays-minus-one is another 20way tie for 40th place. And is, say, 14 plays really different from 13 plays, no not really. So I have a 40 way tie for 20th place. There is no culling here, just looking at what you’ve got.

        Sort 3 Extreme Coarse: Insert column A, go down column A and put a number 1 in the column for keep or drop, go alllllll the way down the list. First pass should go quickly, and you will cut by half easily. Sort by column A for the keeps. This is a bit like swipe left – swipe right. On the list or off the list.

        Sort 4 Better: Insert new column A, tick down with new 1 for keep or drop, second guess your previous choices here, cull another bunch, this will take a bit longer that first sort. Again, on the list or off the list.

        Sort 3 Even Better: This is where you start to debate. I start to use 1 10 20 30 40 or 0 / empty in a new column A for binning into top 10, 10-20, 20-30, etc. This takes far longer because you start to look at the playcount and choose favorites.

        Sort 5 First Proper Refinement. Sort by those bins. Did you put 20 songs into 10-20bin? Do you still somehow have 70 or 80 songs on the list? Does it makes sense that what you thought was your favorite song ever is only in bin 30, why is it suspiciously low. This is why Taemin “Criminal” for me ranked poorly, it is a great song that I seemingly never played, sure I could push it up a few places but not by That Much. Or a song which just came out two months ago has identical playcount to a song from six months ago, it should rank higher.

        And so on, until you are Happy. Or Happy Enough. The last few rounds will take more time as it is likely you will make test playlists for your top ten and top twenty, or at least I do.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Replying so I have something to remember to come back to this in a few weeks when I do my own ‘iTunes Wrapped’. I’ve always just started from playcount and went with songs attached to specific memories from the year from there. But it’s been difficult in recent years since the pandemic has ruined my sense of time, and I only have general vibes when I think back on songs that defined my year.


          • A different problem, when time comes in waves of its own instead of a calendar. And then when you get old like me, you start to think about how something was only ___ years ago and yet seems so near … or so far.
            Fortunately, since we don’t run our own blog, we can make up rules for year end. Or just read and nod and move on.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, I can’t disagree, although it will probably grow on me as most Ateez tracks have been doing these days.

    The EP isn’t on Apple Music yet but I found a copy of Guerilla (Flag Ver.) on YouTube and it’s going to be replacing the original version on my playlists as soon as possible. I’d hoped from the preview that they’d done a Rocky (Boxer ver.) on it and they did! I’m snowed in but will go sit in my car just to listen to this on the speakers.

    I’m retaining a tiny bit of hope that Cyberpunk will still get a performance video at least. The choreo for the tour was tremendous – as a musical theater kid I’m a sucker for chair choreos.


    • PS, yes, that intro is EXCELLENT. Even if the title is the low point of the EP, the whole thing hangs together pretty nicely, which is a nice step up from some Japanese releases that feel very tossed off.

      PPS I wish we’d get an official version of Poppia. That was a solid track.


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