Rookie group IN2IT just made one of the biggest turnarounds I’ve seen in K-pop recently. I’m not talking success (I think NU’EST will be the “reversal icons” for a long time yet) nor concept (too many rookie groups have been concept-hopping lately, to the point that it’s jeopardizing their recognizability). First comeback “Snapshot” represents a 180 in music quality for the group. Okay, no, their October debut “Amazing” wasn’t disastrously bad, but it was undoubtedly one of last year’s most tedious releases, riding the dying wave of tropical EDM without even attempting to trace outside the cookie cutter. “Snapshot,” on the other hand, ups the creativity by a factor of 10 across its production, composition, structure and hooks. What results, I’m pleasantly surprised to say, is one of the best songs of the month so far.
“Snapshot” has that thick, heavy synth sound you associate with the best K-pop throwbacks, like TVXQ’s “Mirotic” or SNSD’s “Run Devil Run.” It takes all the best elements of those old-but-goldies and throws them into sharp relief, shaping slick hooks onto a robust frame outlined by fresh composition and keen production. You rarely see a song where the verses are as essential as the chorus, but in “Snapshot,” the verses and refrains work in tandem to solidify the recurring rap hooks. In fact, you never quite know when a hook is going to pop up, which helps cut the potential monotony that often results from simple hooks repeating at regular intervals. As strong as the hook structure is, the little details of “Snapshot” are equally important to its success: the beat’s unexpected hiccup in the opening verse, the brief breakdown leading into the final chorus. All that said, the most exciting thing about this comeback is that, unlike in “Amazing,” the members themselves actually make an impression here. It’s not their fault “Amazing” was boring—it was written that way. In “Snapshot,” however, charisma and sass come out in full force, distinguishing the members not only from one another but from other boy groups in an oversaturated industry. The EP’s B-sides—there are only two—also have twice as much personality as the debut material did, with ballad “2U” hitting a late 90s boy-band nerve and “Be Bop Baby” diving all the way back to the 80s for inspiration for its manically bright synth sound. While none of the new music goes as far as to establish a niche for the group, it feels relevant, which IN2IT greatly needed.
SNAPSHOT: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Bop!
Take a look at IN2IT’s “Snapshot” MV below: