With a group as large as Seventeen, there’s ample opportunity for solo projects. No member has released an entire album yet, but many of the guys have delivered solo singles – whether in the form of a proper comeback or a digital mixtape. Despite taking the role of rapper on Seventeen’s group tracks, Vernon’s Black Eye sees him tackling an anthemic rock sound. This is in line with many of his peers in 2022, and it makes for a surprisingly solid match.
Vernon is not a singer’s singer, but I think that’s an asset on a track like. The imperfections in his performance give Black Eye extra grit – similar to how G-Dragon’s raw vocal in Crooked made that song such a classic. Black Eye is no Crooked – not even close, really – but it evokes some of the same energy. The instrumental feels more indebted to 80’s indie rock, bounding out of the gate with propulsive percussion that even incorporates some synth.
When Black Eye indulges in a few well-placed breakdowns, they’re opportunities for the guitar to take center stage. I love this punky sound, even if it feels a bit sanitized here. Black Eye’s melodies are also solid – especially that shout-along chorus. My biggest complaint is actually the choice to bleep the expletive in this hook. In the context of the song’s intensity and lyrical content, it’s pretty lame. The move feels overly calculated, like “look at me, I’m so badass (but not really that badass please stream and play this on the radio)”. If you’re going full-on punk, commitment is key. Let the curse words fly, Vernon!