Since debuting earlier this year in March, Tempest has already managed to establish itself as a group to keep an eye on. They came out strong with a clear vision, and fantastic and unique songs to boot. It was refreshing to see a group not follow the current trends of aggressive and anthemic hip-hop and instead go for those feel-good vibes. With that said, it’s almost inevitable in the K-pop industry that at some point, a group will chase the current trends in an effort to “switch things up,” and that’s exactly what Tempest has done with their new single, “Dragon.”
“Dragon” is by no means an intolerable track to listen to, it’s just not that interesting. It has the makings of a generic hard-hitting hip-hop track with intense EDM beats and gang vocals in the chorus. It’s catchy, I’ll give them that, but I’d much rather have more compelling production and more interesting wordplay than “Moving like a dragon / My hot breath / Spread it far away uh / Don’t you wanna feel it.” The one thing that is solidly great on this track is the vocals. While the track is generic, you can at least still hear the interest and energy from the members toward the song. The vocalists and rappers sound fantastic, with a stand-out moment from Hanbin hitting an excellent high note when harmonizing with Hyuk in the bridge.
My issue with the track really has nothing to do with the group’s performance, as like they have shown previously, they are strong performers and their skill is especially impressive for a rookie group. The issue lies with how the production went about having them try something new. If you listen to the other songs on their third mini-album On and On, off which “Dragon” was released, the tracks are solid and again show Tempest’s uniqueness as a group. With a song like “Dragon” being the lead single, it runs the risk of potential new fans hearing it and just thinking it’s the same sound that every other group is going for, and thus not possibly not giving the group a chance.
It’s just a shame that in the pursuit of new sonic endeavors, the song sounds like every other popular boy group at the moment. I don’t know whether this track was a result of fear that listeners would complain and demand something different, but I wish the company behind Tempest would have a bit more faith in the group and what has made them stand out in the first place.