written by: McRoth
I have something of a confession to make: TEEN TOP is quite possibly my biggest guilty pleasure of the decade. Like, I know that I’ve openly spazzed for these kids, complimented them in review, but little did you know that I have deep rooted feels for TEEN TOP that stretch beyond even my own understanding. It’s kind of a surprise to me as I say this now, but it’s true.
I. Love. Teen. Top.
It might have to do with the immense potential they showed during their debut days, if more presentation-wise than musically at the time, but over time they’ve kind of grown into their own and grown on me as idols. It’s not easy carving one’s slot in such a dense music industry as K-Pop, but TEEN TOP have been effective in honing in on what works for them and delivering the goods with flaming charisma.
They’ve also perfectly grasped onto the Brave Brothers production style (yeah, that one I’m always complaining about); so well, that I wouldn’t mind if they were exclusive parties for a bit longer. Somehow, the Brave Sound and the TEEN TOP delivery gels really well. A pleasant surprise, if I may say so.
That being said however, their recent collaboration, aptly titled “Be Ma Girl” Summer Special, didn’t quite stick its mark as gracefully as they’ve done before. In fact, it might be their weakest release yet.
A lot of the reason why this song isn’t as striking or interesting in the least bit is that it regurgitates every gimmick, hook, and melody ever invented in today’s K-Pop. You’ve got bits of SISTAR here, dashes of MBLAQ there, all wrapped in a blanket soaked in ooie-gooie cheesiness. Its outward temperament is more off-putting than it is inviting (verges on annoying, personally), and that’s just on the surface. Break it into pieces and there’s more unsatisfying elements to find.
For one, the range they decided to throw Chunji into (who must have broken several rules somewhere) is punishment in itself if I ever heard it (Niel didn’t fair too well here, either). I understand that he is capable of lunging into his highest octaves, but therein lies the problem. He doesn’t exactly sound pleasant reaching for such shrill terrain, especially for such a young singer, and it occurs in the chorus of all places. It’s unfortunate, really, because when he’s not whaling like a dying kitten, singing in a lower register, Chunji’s my favorite voice to listen to.
Second would be CAP, who is given a pretty decent bit in the second verse (rapping about what sounds like “queso” to me; nachos, anyone?). But we’re swiftly escorted back into “Crazy 2.0“. It’s really unforgiving a song, so I’ve opted to spin “Party Tonight“, this single’s B-side, in its place instead.
While not amazing, it’s quite a bit more enjoyable than the lead. We hear everyone in proper registers, on a chill, almost jazzy hip-hop beat, and overall it’s a surprisingly sophisticated track to hear TEEN TOP in.
I’m definitely not crazy for this summer special single, and I think that rather than spewing so many goddamn songs in such a short amount of time, they’d be better off taking time to reinterpret their style, experiment, and just give themselves time to grow as singers and idols.