MONSTA X Engages in a “Shoot Out”
We’ve been waiting (not so) patiently for the return of MONSTA X, and after seven long months, our boys have finally returned with another sexy, bad boy concept with “Shoot Out!” The seasoned boy group returns with their second full album Are You There? featuring 10 new tracks, including a Korean version of highly popular Japanese track “Spotlight.”
The Title: “Shoot Out”
MONSTA X has definitely found their niche sound and concept, and that shows in the newest title track. The early “waka waka” lines are reminiscent of “Dramarama” in the beginning, and to be quite honest it’s slightly off-putting. But the song makes up for it musically with its intense beat and hard-hitting verse that begins with Jooheon and I.M’s signature fierce raps. The song has a fast-paced feeling not unlike “Beautiful,” but definitely more powerful than “Jealousy” or “Dramarama.” The fiery feeling of the track takes us back to the debut days of MONSTA X, a treat for fans and casual listeners alike.
Visually and aesthetically, it’s truly everything we’ve ever wanted. The badass jail concept is a ramped up “Trespass” with a lovely gothic twist. So much black, so many piercings, so many ripped shirts… such an absolute treat for the eyes. The group has mentioned previously that they believe sexy is their strong point, and they are definitely not wrong. The visuals fit very well with the track itself and package the whole thing into something amazing.
As only the group’s second full album release, there was certainly a lot of hype surrounding this comeback. The album begins with haunting instrumental intro “Are You There?” followed by a much softer and somewhat unexpected “Underwater.” “Underwater” sounds a lot like another standard B-side from the group, which tend to be more pop-focused and in general less intense. There are, however, strangely intense breakdowns during the song that don’t quite fit the overall sound, with a chronically descending scale by half notes that certainly keeps the listener on their toes and in a way hints at the upcoming intensity of title “Shoot Out.”
The sound shifts once again with “Heart Attack,” a light melody that doesn’t carry the melancholy tone of “Underwater” and makes almost a complete 180 switch from the title track. Though unexpected, it has a fairly addictive beat that will find its way into your heart by the halfway mark of the song. The light atmosphere continues with “널하다,” a track that feels more fit for the early summer months than the dwindling days of light that come with the fall. These two tracks can be compared to earlier B-side release “X.”
Beginning the second half of the album is “어디서 뭐해,” a slow and sexy R&B song that allows the rappers to complete their verse in double time and add an awesome musical element to the song. Next follows “Oh My!” though it’s nothing like its SEVENTEEN counterpart with the same title. This track has much more of an EDM club feel than any of the other releases, adding another musical element to the overall album. “Myself” fits closest to the musical style of “어디서 뭐해” or “Underwater,” and brings back that slower beat.
For the final two tracks, we have “By My Side” and “Spotlight,” two polar opposites in terms of not only musicality, but also in overall feeling. “By My Side” sounds like a more sentimental track created as a warm thank you to Monbebes, while “Spotlight” matches the intensity of the title. If you’re a fan of MONSTA X’s harder sounds, the title and final track will definitely fit your tastes better than the rest of the album.
Are You There? in general is about par for the course when it comes to MONSTA X’s releases. The group can be very hit-or-miss to listeners; a lot of people prefer their fierce sound over the softer B-sides. Still, fans of the group will find this album to be another absolute treat from the group.