Though they’ve delivered a standout b-side or one-off colab here and there, I haven’t enjoyed a title track from The Boyz since 2020’s The Stealer. I love the guys and think they’re incredibly talented (especially when it comes to performance), but at a certain point that isn’t enough. If an act consistently lacks the kind of music I want to turn up and enjoy on its own, there’s not much reason to support them. In short, I’m desperate for a song that re-kindles my pre-2020 hype for The Boyz.
Unfortunately, new single Roar will not be that song. It lacks the cloying instrumental and structural elements that have plagued much of their recent work, but like many current boy group efforts it feels more like an excuse to pose dangerously than a fully-fledged musical idea. Roar takes a seductive approach, unveiling a languid beat that’s overstuffed with percussive elements when it should have opted for a simpler – more beguiling – groove. The production plods along, occasionally growing to grandiose peaks. On the plus side, the guys’ voices sound great and I like the dramatic dance break and power note during the climax.
As always, Roar’s true merits come down to its melody. The song doesn’t offer much in this regard. It opts for an EXO Love Shot approach, bolstering its chorus with a catchy (but repetitive) “da da da.” In fact, the entire track is very EXO-adjacent. It’s a shame that the arrangement is too claustrophobic to let anything breathe. Its main purpose seems to be as a soundtrack for a series of striking visuals. That will probably be enough to maintain the group’s enduring popularity, but I’m still looking for the entry point that’ll pull me back into their discography.