HOTSHOT Expresses Deep Feelings of Regret
After what feels like an eternity (but really it was more like a year and a half), HOTSHOT has finally made a comeback to the Korean music scene! The members took a long hiatus because of their participation in Produce 101 Season 2, followed by Taehyun joining JBJ and Sungwoon making it into Wanna One. New mini-album Early Flowering features all except for Sungwoon, who is to promote with Wanna One until the end of the year when the project group is set to disband.
The Title: “I Hate You 니가 미워”
A powerfully emotional ballad, “I Hate You 니가 미워” expresses feelings of regret and deep hurt toward the past, with a dreamy melody that is quite nostalgic. Though a ballad-focused track, the melody has a level of force not normally associated with the musical style, which helps to express the lyrics’ sentiment and the emotional intensity behind the story. It’s hard to listen to this song and not feel a wave of melancholic nostalgia, even without a full understanding of the lyrics. That emotion behind the stinging words is easily relatable to anyone who has experienced such feelings before, striking a chord deep in the heart.
The music video is also beautifully shot. The emotions expressed vocally are complemented by muted colors and darker scenes, fully driving home the sorrowful emotions of the song. Each individual shot of the members in dim lighting really makes the sadness of their expressions come to life and definitely adds to the impact of the track overall.
Early Flowering kicks off with “Print,” a track produced by everyone’s favorite AOMG producer Cha Cha Malone. In direct contrast to the title track that follows, “Print” is a warm and upbeat love song that sets an amicable tone for the album, only to have it turn around into the intense and angsty “I Hate You 니가 미워.”
“Paradise” follows, returning to a sound much like “Print” that doesn’t feel as emotionally charged because of its lighter hip-hop feel. The confusing contrast can be somewhat off-putting after feeling so much passion from the title track and can make it hard to fully appreciate the song. Second to last we have “Better,” a light funk-inspired track that has a catchiness the other tracks do not. While it is also in stark contrast to the title, it has its own charm in the airiness of the melody. It is arguably the best B-side on the album. Early Flowering concludes with “Body Talks,” a track that follows the musical pattern of the rest of the album’s B-sides. While the title may suggest a sensual R&B melody, the song is actually much more pop and EDM-inspired and nothing like what would be expected.
If you expect the title track to encompass the direction of the album, you’ll definitely be caught off guard with Early Flowering. While the title gives off a feeling almost BTOB-esque in fervent emotion, the rest of the album focuses on bright love songs that totally contrast the overall feeling of both the title song and music video. Whether or not this is a downside is up to personal interpretation, but we were certainly caught off guard. Still, the album definitely showcases the vocal talents of this group and is a welcome return for fans that have been waiting a long time for this comeback.