Monsta X is back again, this time with a new mini-album and a characteristically drama-fraught title track, “Jealousy.” The song steers away from the funky pop of last November’s “Dramarama,” instead harkening back to the darkly melodic EDM of “Beautiful” and “Shine Forever” from the earlier half of 2017. While “Jealousy” is a solid single, I’m not entirely convinced that it bests these few recent singles. It does have a quick-stick factor; you’re singing along to the opening line of the hook before the song’s even over. And when you’ve got a main vocal like Kihyun, it’s never a bad idea to stretch out some big notes. So on that front, the song gets a plus for sure. However, I wish the vocal melody of the hook had made moves towards the unique following that initial, essential crooning of “jealousyyy!” It’s not that it’s bad, but it doesn’t play with rhythm the way “Shine Forever” did or introduce strange melodic intervals like “Dramarama.” End of the day, this song’s very Monsta X, but not their best.
That said, the album itself, titled “The Connect: Dejavu,” is thoroughly enjoyable. I’m starting to think that what Monsta X does best isn’t the hardened electronic hip-hop on which their identity is built, but the dark pop drama of songs like “Destroyer” and “Lost in a Dream.” I’ve been smitten with “Destroyer” since first hearing it in the “music film” teaser that preceded the comeback (and what a magnificent music film it was!), as much for the gritty rap verses as for the thickly dissonant background harmonies in the chorus that add a viscous texture to the melody. But one of the best songs on the album, surprisingly, is a sweet love song of the variety you’d expect to hear from, say, ASTRO. “If Only” is lovely, with a series of background vocal loops that travel lazily through sonic depths, marking the song with a dreamy appeal that I’d never expect to hear from Monsta X. Once the twinkling tune of the prechorus kicks off, it’s pure sugar rush, and the song’s charm balloons from there on out. “The Connect” is a solid addition to the group’s discography, and “Destroyer” will definitely be on my playlists for a while.
JEALOUSY: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Pretty much a bop.
Take a look at Monsta X’s “Jealousy” MV below: