[Review] SHUT DOWN – CLASS:y

Two reviews ago, I started to focus on a few female rookie releases of this year that I have yet to review. I will be continuing that focus today. The first of two reviews is on CLASS:y, a 7 member female group under M25 and Universal Music Japan. They were formed via the MBC survival show My Teenage Girl, with the top 7 participants (i.e. Myung Hyungseo, Yoon Chaewon, Hong Hyeju, Kim Riwon, Won Jimin, Park Boeun and Kim Seonyou) forming CLASS:y. They subsequently made their debut back in May with Part 1 of their debut mini-album, Class Is Over, and the title track SHUT DOWN. They later followed up with their comeback Classy, and later this month with Tick Tick Boom and Zealous – all of which will be subject of future reviews.

SHUT DOWN proved to be quite a catchy track, but it took quite a while for it to catch on for me. I don’t think I thought much of SHUT DOWN when it was first released, otherwise I might have been more inclined to review it earlier on. But over time, the dramatic thumping consistently throughout the instrumentation, the squeaky horn synth that plays in the background of the “SHUT DOWN” refrain following the chorus, and that very same repetition ended up making SHUT DOWN being quite memorable. I really liked the extra oomph the members put behind that repetitive sequence (i.e. the shouting and chantiness of the sequence), which helped bolster up the sequence and give it a more epic vibe. All of what I had just listed is pretty much on point with current sounds and styles, but I like the way that CLASS:y and their producers had managed to keep the song exciting and dynamic throughout. However, listening back to SHUT DOWN, there are still a few sore spots to the song that just have not been able to escape the land of generic. Firstly, the actual chorus was not that strong. Compared to the main hook of SHUT DOWN, the chorus itself was pretty boring and plain. The melody here could have been more interesting and stronger, just to keep it on par with the hook and not feel as lacking as it did. Secondly, I felt the group could have done more with their vocals and raps. CLASS:y does have a strong set of vocals and raps as demonstrated in the song, but I wished there was more of a wow moment. I kept on thinking of an epic note or a punchy rap line would have been ideal in this song. And while I do think we did head in that direction during the bridge, it didn’t feel enough. Thirdly, the verses were pretty forgettable. Overall, SHUT DOWN‘s strongest point (i.e. the catchy hook) is its best aspect and a fair first step into the industry.

I feel like we have seen a few apocalypse concept music videos this year, more than any other year. Is KPOP trying to warn us of something? However, this one probably takes the cake, with both an asteroid crashing into Earth and a zombie plague all at once. Though I feel like the latter might be influenced by All of Us Are Dead from earlier in the year. Anyhow, I was pretty okay with the video. It leans towards the cutesy side, but I am not too troubled by this initially. It was a neat fit for the group’s youthful visuals. However, the ending is when I started questioning things. Supercharged inflatable bats and water guns was just a bit too cutesy for my liking. Also, the zombified people in the different protective outfits we see closing in on the members during their choreography shots were a nice touch, but I wished their walking wasn’t as “video game” like.

I quite liked the energy the members put into the performance, particularly during the final sequence. It adds more oomph to the song. I really liked how they changed the moves for that hook in the end, just to give the end of the performance a more intensified zing. The earlier moves for that hook made sense, but felt somewhat weak. I did like how Hyeju flaunt her flexibility during her second sequence – that was a cool moment.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

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