ENHYPEN has made their highly anticipated comeback, and they’re back will a new sound! The boy group has just dropped their newest mini-album MANIFESTO: DAY 1 and are kicking things off with a bang through the lead single “Future Perfect (Pass The MIC).”
ENHYPEN have previously established themselves with their upbeat and dreamy pop anthems, full of dynamics and excellent vocal performances from the group’s members. As with any music group, it’s no surprise that at some point the group and its management would try out a different approach. It seems in the case of “Pass the MIC,” they decided to follow the trends of other boy groups and go the darker and more aggressive route.
Heavily inspired by the Chicago Drill Movement, the track attempts to show off a much grittier and intense side of ENHYPEN through trap-style beats that carry a sense of urgency. The problem with this, however, is that the track quickly becomes murky and it’s difficult to distinguish the layers that went into its production. It would have been great to hear much more crispy hi-hats and clear trumpets, but everything is muddled together to become a wall of noise. The song also makes the interesting choice of not really having a bridge and skipping the chorus at the end, just kind of ending abruptly. A sudden ending to a song can be extremely effective if done correctly. The song stays at the same level of intensity the entire time, so there isn’t any anticipatory build-up to the sudden drop. It’s a missed opportunity for the song to truly give a “mic drop” moment.
It also becomes clear very quickly that the Drill influence ends with the track itself, and doesn’t transfer to the lyrics. Drill lyrics, like the track, are dark, gritty, and largely focus on a life lived growing up on the streets. This combination of lyrics and the track are what makes Drill so compelling as a genre, as it is a raw and real look into the artist’s world. Lyrically, ENHYPEN stick to their guns and go with the inspirational call-to-action. There isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s just a strange combination of an uplifting message to step up and take control of your life, with a darker and somewhat claustrophobic track that rarely lifts up.
Overall, the track fits into the endless wave of harder-hitting and edgier music many K-Pop fans have come to expect of boy groups this year. This isn’t to say trend-hopping is exclusively a K-Pop problem, but it tends to make the message fall flat, especially when the track and lyrics are going completely different directions. While I commend ENHYPEN for trying something new for them, hopefully they tap back into what made them stand out in the first place and work more towards an organic evolution.
Featured Image: HYBE Labels