Song Review: ZEROBASEONE – Crush

Though it took awhile to really hit me, ZEROBASEONE’s In Bloom proved to be one of the year’s most refreshing boy group tracks. Better yet, its accompanying album laid out a consistent style and vibe for the group, merging upbeat pop with hazy, subdued production. Remnants of that sound remain on new single Crush, but they’re undone by a predictably noisy shout at its center.

I really thought we were moving away from this songwriting trope in boy group K-pop, but just like an unkillable monster in a horror movie, producers can’t resist bringing it back. Much of Crush hinges on the skittering drum and bass sound that popped up often on the group’s debut album, and these segments are successful (if a bit obvious in their execution). There’s a universe where Crush blooms into a complementary chorus that boosts the track to another level. It wouldn’t even be difficult to write, given the song’s set-up.

Instead, Crush opts for a dull centerpiece. When it’s not needlessly abrasive, the melodies take a repetitive turn that doesn’t grab me. The frenzied percussion underlining this hook is cool on its own, and may have stood out on a different song. However, Crush is too fragmented for any of its highlights to stick. Once again, I must bemoan the presence of sixteen (!) songwriters on the track. I’m not sure it’s possible to get anything but a hodgepodge of ideas with that many creators behind music that is — ultimately — pretty straightforward. Instead, you get a comeback that tries to do too much and ends up doing too little.






Grade: C

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