[Review] Tear Drop – SF9

It is a new week in KPOP and this means new releases! I will definitely get around to reviewing those releases I missed over the last few weeks when I have time (which I plan on making sure I have – all-nighters, here I come). First up on the reviewing block this week is SF9’s Tear Drop, which is the title track off their group’s 9th mini-album, Turn Over. This album release follows SF9’s participation on Kingdom: Legendary War, making them the first group from the show to make their official comeback. Tear Drop also follows the release of Summer Breeze, the group’s last official comeback a year ago, though they did release Shine Together in October (but this was a special release and not promoted).

First and foremost, Tear Drop is an emotional song. You can tell from the title of the song in the first instance. But the emotional side of the song is emphasised by both the vocals and minimalistic vibes of the song. The airy and husky nature of SF9’s vocals brings out a sultry sound, which is fitting for a SF9 release. But at the same time, you can hear a tinge of sadness behind their voices. They don’t really put that emotional side out there, as per when we think of ’emotional songs’. Rather, it felt like they were holding back their sadness. This held-back approach compliments the lyrics, where they sing about pretending that everything is okay despite them breaking up with their lovers. But yet, the breakup is less hurtful for them (though it appears it is to no avail as their lover’s tears ends up wounding them). As for the minimalistic vibes, there isn’t much to the instrumental. Tear Drop is described to be ‘an emotional dance track UK garage style beats and unique bass sounds’. And that is only what we get. But while I did like the cleanness and overall aesthetic of the instrumental, I found it to be lackluster when it came to the rapping. I wished the instrumental changed it up a bit to better fit Zuho and Hwiyoung’s sections. I liked the contrast and texture that their sequences bring, and find they are valuable elements to keep the song appealing. They also helps break up the song from being overly consistent, which I felt was an issue the first few times I listened to the song, but soon realized that wasn’t the case. But I think more could have done instrumentally to get the rappers’ sequences to fit. Youngbin’s rapping sequence is an exception, however, thanks to the whispering delivery he had (which just clicked easily into the minimalist song). As for the memorability of the song, Tear Drop had a repetitive chorus, which worked in the group’s favour and helped give off an aesthetic that I feel SF9 can only do. Overall, Tear Drop hit expectations and the brief.

Talking about aesthetic, there is something about SF9 music videos lately that just gives off that vibe. We saw it in Good Guy. We saw it in Summer Breeze. Now, we see the same aesthetic vibes in Tear Drop. This time in particular, I applaud the transitions, which helped smoothed out the shots and made it so alluring to watch. In addition to that, I noticed some details that further heightened my interest in the video and made it so artistic. I will just list some of them. Firstly, the lack of colour during the ‘coloured’ sections of the music video and the black and white really hones into the emotional aspect of the song. Secondly, in one of the choreography shots, the rocks on the ground were moving in a reverse direction, as in they were flying up. And thirdly, the various solo shots were either confined or constricted by the sets or the props, which made everything feel tighter and hence the focus was primarily on the members. Or the camera angles were abstract, adding flair to that artistic touch.

The sensual nature of the choreography just makes the comeback even better. The chorus was a very elegant and smooth feel to it, which once again, felt like a move that only SF9 could do. The rest of the choreography seems to continue that minimalistic vibe from the song, as there wasn’t much else going on, in terms of complexity. But there was still a substantial routine for the group to perform.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

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