With their new comeback, boy group VAV have officially made it onto my list of the most underrated groups in K-pop. After only two months since their last comeback, they are back with “Spotlight,” their first release longer than a single since the summer of 2016. Included on the EP is title track “Spotlight” as well as the group’s last single, “She’s Mine,” which I thoroughly enjoyed, and three new songs. Before this comeback, VAV had put out a string of radically distinct singles with completely different concepts and styles, which contributed to their inability to gain traction with the public. They must have finally decided that it was about time to stick with a sound, and that the urban funkiness of “She’s Mine” would be it. “Spotlight” expands and sharpens this style, honing VAV’s musical identity in a way we haven’t seen before. While the title track is more streamlined than “She’s Mine,” with slicker synths and less pronounced dynamics, it retains the catchy vocal hook factor, replacing the irresistible “ah-ah”s of the previous title with cleverly incorporated “ra-ta-ta-ra-ta”s. While it could have used some more engaging dynamic peaks and valleys, “Spotlight” is a solid follow-up to “She’s Mine.”
The rest of the EP drives home the same sound of the two singles, bringing similarly funky percussion and composition to the very effective “Gorgeous” and “Give It To Me.” Finishing off the album is “Winter Breeze,” a stark change from the upbeat energy preceding it. When I heard the opening measures, I figured VAV had included a single ballad purely for the sake of showing a little versatility—but then it turned out to be my favorite song on the EP. The piano instrumental is, like, kind of genius. Whoever wrote it must have set out to catch the listener unawares, because it travels through chords that you wouldn’t typically expect to hear after one another. This composition provides enormous emotive nuance, all but eliminating the need for percussion or big vocals to build dynamic or convey sentiment. Not that VAV doesn’t deliver; they have at least one great main vocal who does take the refrain up a notch. It’s a gratifying moment on the EP that demonstrates that while VAV has picked a concept to stick with, they’re not going to turn into a one-sound group with no flexibility. I hope that we’re witnessing the first steps of VAV’s rise with these last couple singles, because it’s time for these guys’ music to get recognized.
SPOTLIGHT: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? A definite bop.
Take a look at VAV’s “Spotlight” MV below: