Sunday, December 5th, 2021

BE:FIRST – Gifted.

Nominative determinism fun: it’s our first post of this week.


Nortey Dowuona: First thought: Damn. There are 7 of them!?? Thirteenth thought: oh, that’s why, none of them are good enough to carry one song. Fifty-fifth thought: all of them could carry an album. I need to find it.

Katie Gill: This feels like a song that had twelve different ideas and, instead of committing to one or two of them, decided to commit to ALL AT ONCE. Sultry strings, a vaguely trap beat, enough of a beat that you can dance to it but not too much of a beat — we want this to sound artsy, after all. The end result is that a chorus that sounds like a goddamn mess and that’ll make you check your tabs because surely something else is playing, right? It’s an interesting mess, but a mess nonetheless.

Ian Mathers: I honestly wish they’d taken the impulse that had them layer in that wheezy, screechy little violin(?) loop on the chorus and applied a lot more of that energy to the absolutely generic-feeling verses. No matter how many undeniably talented young people they throw at songs like this, the vocals (I’m sorry) always sound kind of the same (I’m sorry!) to me (k-pop fans, I am painfully aware that I listen to plenty of music that all sounds the same to the 99% of the population that hasn’t bought in, I get it). But it’s really just that lil’ violin dude staving off boredom here for me.

Tobi Tella: The verses are crooning and mysterious, lulling you into a slow-jam security that gets ripped away by the chorus doing… that. I’m not opposed to a dated sounding drop, or even a squeaky falsetto but combining them makes it feel like the song just decides to do a 180 into being terrible. Much more “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” than Frankie Valli.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Points for production choices that sound like if you lit fireworks in an orchestra, anti-points for doing nothing interesting melodically or lyrically over those choices.

Juana Giaimo: That chorus has some really impressive orchestral arrangements, but it doesn’t work for me. Their high registers clash with the violins, which are also pretty high, instead of complementing each other (in fact, the backing vocals in the last chorus show that a lower register would have provided more interesting layers). The verses are more sparse and seem to be there just because there has to be something between choruses. 

Thomas Inskeep: If you like your boyband J-Pop overdramatic and militaristic, have I got the single for you.

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