You know what’s so good? When a group debuts with a sound all their own. In an industry where few groups are aiming to carve out a niche for themselves, unique debuts are incredibly satisfying. Of course, to stick, they can’t just be unique. They’ve got to be good. That’s where new group TARGET’s debut comes up short. Title track “Awake” has little going for it in terms of structure, which is disappointing because its striking sound had the potential to set the group apart.
The dramatic orchestral instrumental of title track “Awake” would be brilliant if it allowed any room for dynamics. However, the energy level is kept constant throughout the song, so there are no ups and downs to follow. Because of this, the song feels stale before it’s even halfway over. Not only that, but the rhythm never breaks out of prechorus mode. By that I mean that it constantly feels like it’s building up to something, but the something never comes. The chorus has no flow or forward movement, only a stilted beat that takes the hook nowhere. Perhaps with a more robust structure, the group’s notable rap talents and the sweeping vocal harmonies of the hook could have made a bigger impression. Unfortunately, the flat dynamics hold the debut back.
While the title track was underwhelming, other songs on mini-album “Alive” are much better. Both “Tempest” and “Afterwards” have well fleshed-out hooks and much more developed dynamics than “Awake.” “Tempest” is especially good, incorporating retro dance sounds and moments of piano into cunningly crafted composition that strikes that magic balance between catchy and enduring. When TARGET makes their first comeback, I’d like to see them combine the daring sound of their title track with the careful construction of the B-sides, because a song uniting those elements would be an automatic bop.
AWAKE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Kinda floppy.
Take a look at TARGET’s “Awake” MV below: