MONSTA X made their official comeback to the stage yesterday with a new song and mini-album. Titled LOVE and Shape of Love respectively, it is the first time we are seeing the group (sans Shonwu, who is currently serving his military enlistment) since November of last year through their Rush Hour comeback. This comeback also follows KIHYUN’s solo debut with VOYAGER which occurred last month. The comeback was originally scheduled for earlier in April, but was postponed by two weeks due to COVID-19. But the members have since recovered and are ready to crush the stage with LOVE.
MONSTA X’s affinity to EDM in the past for their title tracks has made it synonymous with the group’s sound. I quite liked this aggressive, powerful and intense side of the group, even when others didn’t. LOVE steps away from that reliance on EDM and re-enters old school R&B and hip-hop territory. Despite how I started this section of the review, I must say that there is definitely nothing wrong with this sound profile as MONSTA X expertly executes and showcases the two sides of song really well. What I quite enjoy about LOVE is how within the instrumental, the two sides of the song were distinct and clearly identifiable. But what really glued the song together were the vocals, which blurred the boundaries a bit (i.e. hip-hop melodies in the R&B instrumental territory and vice versa). It is an interesting blend, and one that MONSTA X pulls off successfully. I also like the colourful nature of the instrumental, from the brass that literally felt oozy to the punchy synths. For me, the standout member for this comeback was Jooheon. His vocals and rapping worked so well on both sides of LOVE, and I quite liked how energetic and upbeat he was throughout the song. Definitely made it captivating. His growls were very alluring and hit at the right moments. The other members did excellent in the song, as well. In terms of weaknesses, LOVE should have stronger hooks that were more defined and memorable. What we got just didn’t really feel enough for this song, and there was moments where they could have gone further. But overall, LOVE was a nice departure from their usual sound.
Visually, MONSTA X shows off two sides of themselves in this video. The first is a more casual side, and the second is a more elegant side. Both were captivating to watch, but the elegant side was a lot more alluring. Though I might be bias due to that cool stage set and the gold on black colour palette that made everything feel so expensive. I guess that might say something about my taste. The glittery closeups of Hyunwon and Kihyun also may have played a part. I also liked how the video acknowledges that MONSTA X is a six-member male group even though they are promoting as a five member group at the moment. At the very end of the video, we see six microphones, with the sixth microphone corresponding to Shownu (who is currently enlisting as already mentioned). What a warm way to end off the video.
The choreography felt extremely fitting for this song, with the choreography’s intensity feeling just right. I also enjoyed the bounce the choreography had, particularly in Hyungwon’s part in the bridge. Some other observations I had whilst watching the stage performance includes wanting better utilization of I.M’s cane (its adds a classy touch, but felt under used) and that Minhyuk’s visuals were so good.
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10