Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Monsta X ft. French Montana – Who Do U Love?

A few things have happened since we last checked in two years ago, like, oh, a VMA nomination…


Ryo Miyauchi: It took me more time to warm up to Monsta X than some other K-pop groups. Their recent bombast was initially overwhelming, but it’s something I now welcome as the group’s signature. But “Who Do U Love?” is accessible to a fault, swapping their blockbuster brass and grit for boilerplate bass-pop that sounds cut from a Charlie Puth demo. The polish most likely comes with their crossover ambitions, but the easy way into the charts doesn’t do Monsta X any favors.

Jessica Doyle: And this, folks, is how a generic-seeming package becomes a 100% Monsta X song: because it’s less awkward than you would expect, given the mid-line switch-offs; because when no one was looking, they somehow became one of the few Korean idol groups able to tackle this kind of slinky, understated sound; and because there’s apparently a fan theory that the “titty boi” in French Montana’s verse is actually Wonho.

Alfred Soto: The electronic white boy throb of Charlie Puth’s Voicenotes has had an influence, it seems, or maybe it reflected trends in K-pop. Either way, French Montana bursts through the wall like the Kool-Aid Guy holding a dead cat. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Charlie Puth’s “Attention” started appearing on the Gaon charts this year, but it wasn’t doing well enough to warrant this dreadful facsimile. Like “Attention” and its ilk, the synths here want to exude something nocturnal and seductive, but the song’s far too stiff to accomplish that. French Montana’s guest spots are always filler, and he only makes this sound like a shameless and misguided crossover attempt. We’ve already seen K-pop singles succeed in the West without succumbing to such embarrassing musical endeavors–what was the point of this?

Anjy Ou: If I believed in critical objectivity, this score would be lower. The song is a riff on The Weeknd circa 2016; it features French Montana, arguably the least interesting top 40 rapper right now; and I.M. doesn’t get any obvious lines, despite being fluent in English, and a decent vocalist as well as an excellent rapper. It’s even written by the same team from BTS’s “The Truth Untold.” “Who Do You Love?” is just so safe — pleasant and unremarkable enough that it will get radio play without people flagging it as “K-pop.” But lyrically it’s a step up from the group’s previous English releases (no mention of cartels anywhere), and Monsta X are just so damn cool — they are as comfortable with this laid-back groove as they are with their aggressive signature sound.

Iris Xie: This is like a happy version of Taemin’s “Move,” with a more upbeat “chill funk” mood. But I feel I’ve spent more time storyboarding a music video in my head (because K-pop video tropes are a whole thing in itself) than really listening to this.

Kylo Nocom: Puth-ified to the point of no return. I want my reward for finding French Montana.

Iain Mew: The song sets out being under pressure and a plea for escape. The problem is, the pressure as described by words and bassline is a constant force, and that makes the group setup ill-suited to conveying it (escalating paranoia might have been another matter). Every time someone new sings, the intensity escapes a little more, and French Montana’s word from the sponsors deflates it completely. 

Alex Clifton: I’m annoyed that this isn’t just a song for Monsta X–not that French Montana’s verse is bad, but it’s superfluous. The groove recalls much of SHINee’s 1+1 album (aka my favourite SHINee album), and while the song is a bit repetitive, other than that it’s really quite good.

Michael Hong: I was expecting a Korean-language EDM track with a phoned-in French Montana verse, and instead I got a generic bouncy chilled-out English-language track with a phoned-in French Montana verse. Sad to say, but if we’re talking French Montana-boy band collaborations, PRETTYMUCH may have done it better.

Reader average: [10] (1 vote)

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5 Responses to “Monsta X ft. French Montana – Who Do U Love?”

  1. Oh geez, I referenced the wrong song, I meant to say Taemin’s “Want” instead. Lovely blurbs here!

  2. I liked their Steve Aoki collaboration better.

  3. “puth-ified” is a+

  4. if you end up really hating a Charlie Puth composition could you say it’s…. Puth-trid

  5. Puth-thetic.

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