Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

VIXX – Dynamite

Listening to all our favorite bands bands bands bands…

Alfred Soto: American pop once let a Jermaine Jackson called “Dynamite” to hit the top twenty. Forgotten now, it’s a semi-chewy mild-voiced electro funk single. This K-pop’s own “Dynamite” is a semi-chewy mild-voiced demonstration of rhythmic and chordal shifts.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Riveting jazzy chord progressions. Beautifully mixed vocals that play with interesting parallel harmonies and even light dissonance. Badass session guitar/bass playing. A slow bridge with a weird kick-drum triplet. And yet, all those super complex elements only help enhance a track that’s, well, just so damn funky. It seems like VIXX are seriously getting in the business of outshining — and out-SHINee-ing — SHINee

Madeleine Lee: There’s a lot I like about “Dynamite”: the sound of Ken’s voice in the first verse and the choruses; the jaunty synth horn riffs; the splayed-out “oohs” in the prechorus; the big hops in the choreography that match the exuberance of the beat. But it’s hard to get over how different this style is for VIXX, a group that’s usually accused of being derivative of themselves, not other groups. The reach beyond their usual dark and intense range is in line with their constant willingness to try new things, but I’m not sure that this particular new thing suits them; in their hands, the song comes out thin and glossy where their better singles (like the unbeatable “On and On”) have been rich and full. And that ballad bridge is not right for this song, regardless of who’s singing it. The Miguel-ish guitar noodling is a nice idea, but it’s a tangent, rather than a crucial component — an unsatisfying move from a group whose strength usually lies in turning songs into self-contained universes.

Claire Biddles: There is SO much going on here and I LOVE the intermittent synthy saxophone bits and I LOVE the sleazy guitar breakdown and can every boyband’s songwriting team take this breathless six-chorus-megamix approach? The blonde one is super cute too.

Brad Shoup: VIXX’s narrator wigs out in a major-key mania: the bridge is a joke that begins self-aware (a guitar-stained slow jam of regret) and ends up oblivious (a whistle chopped until it’s an alarm).

Cassy Gress: So, the good parts: Ravi’s rap has more oomph to it than I expected (it’s almost a little T.O.P-ish), and I like the chromatic robotics of Hyuk’s “sigyel dolligo doedollyeobwado” the few times it comes up. But the chorus sounds like a half-hearted ripoff of “Married to the Music,” the lyrics are rather frightening (“All mine, her mind”; “I got one night, I can’t let you go”; “I’m gonna be crooked… push, throw, shake it down”; “I was supposed to be the hero but I’ve become the villain”), and N coming in immediately after the rap with some half-baked ballad shit is dubious.

Jessica Doyle: It is awfully hard to take bewildered suspicion and turn it into something chipper and danceable (although it can be done). Once I started thinking of “Dynamite” as the pop equivalent of the laugh you give when you absolutely cannot believe how horrible things have gotten, the song came together for me. (Even the bridge, when the narrator slows down to contemplate that the thrashing about is temporary, and the heartbreak is coming soon after.) And VIXX is the group that earlier took the refrain “I need therapy, la-la-la-la-therapy” and sold it without breaking stride. So, yes, if anyone’s going to take baffled-to-the-point-of-exhilarated destructive rage and make that danceable, it’s them.

Patrick St. Michel: Light, bubbly tag-team pop seemingly built for warmer months but with quick emotional breakdown — just a really well executed song that goes down easy.

Reader average: [6.44] (9 votes)

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3 Responses to “VIXX – Dynamite”

  1. good taste, Claire (the blond one is my favourite)

  2. Not one but two references to On and On! My favorite VIXX song :D.

    Definitely agree with the MTTM comments, though. I love both songs but the similarities are definitely a bit too much to ignore.

  3. My goal forthwith is for every K-pop review here to involve at least one new bias declaration. Claire: his stage name is Ken, real name Lee Daehwan. (According to fyeah-vixx: “He was also named by the CEO because he resembles the Japanese actor Hirai Ken and his personality is also similar to the Street Fighter character Ken.”)

    (although given all the SHINee comparisons here, Blond!Key is probably relevant to your interests as well)