SF9 is the first group to make their comeback this week, with their brand new single Puzzle and 12th mini-album, THE PIECE OF9. This comeback follows their SCREAM comeback from mid-last year. It also marks the return of Rowoon who sat out of the SCREAM comeback due to conflicting schedules, bumping the lineup for SF9 this time around to seven members (with Youngbin and Inseong continuing to sit out due to their military enlistments).
Puzzle is another track that goes down the funky and groovy route. But I personally feel that this route is quite light on. There is still enough of it to be detectable, making Puzzle enjoyable and prevents the song from falling into a ‘standard’ dance pop track category. The way the funky and groovy influences are held back also allows me to feel a sense of refinement, something I tend to mention when it comes to SF9’s classier comebacks. Puzzle features a memorable hook during the choruses, which helps bump up the song in my books. I will admit it took a couple of listens for me to feel that way about the hooks. But now that I am into it, I am completely for it. I liked how the rappers got to participate in the choruses, evening out the line distribution. Chani and Zuho taking helm of the first portion of the first two runs of the chorus, while Hwiyoung takes the second portion of the final chorus. I did feel like the vocals and raps were somewhat plain in terms of their delivery, which is probably the reason why it took me a couple of listens to get into Puzzle. Maybe it was purposely done so to bring a charismatic appeal to the group. But I wished the vocals were more expressive or had some sort of uniqueness to them, while I also wished the raps packed more of a punch to them. Overall, Puzzle was a decent track. It could have done better, but Puzzle still works as a solid addition to SF9’s single discography.
The members in this video are putting the clues of a puzzle together to work out. I wished the video showed us a reason for the investigative/suspicious actions, like if something was stolen or someone was killed. Without the context, the video doesn’t feel as exciting to me as it is hyped up to be. From what I can understand, there are two version of the group. The investigators are the version of the members that are dressed in suits, while the version dressed in leather are the ones trying to steer the investigators away from themselves. At first, I thought they were all tracking down Jaeyoon (as he had the burn mark on his skin), but the version of the members dressed in leather jackets were doing some suspicious things with files and what I assume is evidence. Whilst the suits and leather jackets talk is very confusing for the story behind the video, the SF9 definitely look very cool in them.
The choreography is good. I must commend the members on how their moves looked very natural and fluid throughout the routine. I also did like the chorus routine, particularly the first half (i.e. during the “Puzzlin’, Puzzlin’ Puzzlin‘”) line. But other than that, nothing really stood out for me.
Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10