[Review] Alone – HIGHLIGHT

As mentioned yesterday, I am back on on the reviewing train starting from today. And I kick things off with a review for a comeback from last week. HIGHLIGHT, the 13-year-old quartet (formerly known as BEAST/B2ST), returned on 7 November 2022 with the new single Alone and their fourth mini-album After Sunset. This comeback follows the group’s comeback with their the single DAYDREAM and fourth studio album of the same name.

HIGHLIGHT goes down the funky and groovy roots of KPOP with this new release. More particularly, the mature side of those roots. This isn’t anything new in this day and age (Alone checks many of the boxes of such releases, such as heavy bass, funky guitar work etc.), but I do still find Alone alluring to a degree. The key part in that sentence is the ‘to a degree’, however. There could have been so much more potential to the song had Alone became more dynamic as it progresses, just so the song can be even more riveting and ear-catching. Instead, it just stuck to a neutral drive for majority of the song, which ultimately dried up Alone‘s appeal. It was a massive missed opportunity, in my opinion, for the melody to not really develop and concentrate. I was also quite disappointed when Alone just looped it back to the same initial chorus in its final moments, instead of a final hurrah to close out the song. A suggestion I kept on thinking about whilst listening to Alone is that the song could have benefited from a more hard-hitting and full-fledged rap sequence. I know former member Junhyung’s departure was a big blow for the group at the time, and I appreciate that HIGHLIGHT has not forced any of themselves to fill in the shoes of main rapper that Junhyung’s absence has created. But I feel after two releases with no substantial rap sequences, it is time we reintroduce the element back into their repertoire, just so Alone is more dynamic. We do get a rap-speak like motif from Doojoon in the second verse, but it just wasn’t enough to scratch that craving. On a more positive note, Alone does display a solid set of vocals from the four members. I liked it when the members went with low tones and this subsequently brought forth husky and raspy vocals from some of the members. Overall, I think my thoughts from the DAYDREAM review stands for Alone – ‘… sounds like your typical dance track. Nothing more, nothing less.’.

Alone depicts the darker side of falling in love, which is an interesting topic to approach. Visually, we see the world around the members come literally crashing down or breaking apart, which is largely caused by the absence of their partner. Based on the lyrics, I don’t think the members have broken up with their partners. It is just the members are completely infatuated with their partner, that even a small absence can lead to disastrous outcomes. I did like how the sets were largely simple in this video, with the focus just being on the members and whatever was to be destroyed in the set. Also, HIGHLIGHT looks amazingly stunning throughout this video. They do not look like they have been around for 13 years whatsoever.

The choreography looks great. It focuses on that mature side of the song that I pointed out earlier. Nothing too mind-blowing individually. But as a whole routine, it looks sleek and neat.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.3/10

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