Weekend releases are quite uncommon, especially at the start of a group’s career. 1THE9 made their respective debut over the weekend, with their first album release occurring on the 12th of April (Saturday). Currently under MBK Entertainment, 1THE9 was formed through the survival program, Under Nineteen. Also based on the name, the group has 9 members including Yoo Yong Ha, Kim Tae Woo, Lee Seung Hwan, Shin Ye Chan, Kim Jun Seo, Jeon Do Yum, Jung Jin Sung, Jeong Taek Hyeon and Park Sung Won. Their debut track, Spotlight, is featured on the mini-album, XIX.
Spotlight follows the trend of Latin pop, which we all know has been dominating KPOP for the past year or so. And as it goes for a very overused trend in the industry, the song fails to really standout. It also doesn’t help that I thought the song was rather weak in terms of hooks and memorable elements. I found the main hook (the ‘Merry-go Merry go-…round‘) in the chorus to very, once again, very typical and not that catchy overall. I feel like more could have been added to the instrumental to make the song pop right out. I had the craving for some electric guitar towards the end, which I think could set the track up to be slightly more powerful. The vocals were alright. They just didn’t have anything to really make me go wow in this domain. The rapping was a lot more interesting. I liked the tone and it really showed a lot of potential down the road! Overall, Spotlight was an okay debut track. It was just very typical.
The music video starts off with two songs that I assume come from their mini-album. The actual Spotlight song doesn’t start until 1:07. However, the presence of the two other tracks didn’t allow the video to flow too nicely and a little hard for me to get through. The same thing could have been said about the music video. It connects with their album teaser’s video but it seems to be its separate story. The members end up having a party in the gymnasium, which seems to upset the coach (who already had previous beef with one of the members). He is escorted away and they all have fun partying. The entire Spotlight subsection in the video isn’t connected to any of this and I wonder why the start and end were even wrapped around it. This subsection contained bright vibes through the use of vibrant colours in the choreography and solo shots. I did think this was a little too much, as I felt a darker vibe could have really shown a nice contrast. But that wouldn’t fit the group’s young image.
The choreography was rather nice. Finally, something that wasn’t typical or confusing. I liked their energy and the post-chorus section was probably my favourite parts of the entire performance!
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.4/10