Song Review: ATEEZ – Not Okay

ATEEZ’s growing J-pop discography has had its share of original tracks, and most of them fit comfortably within their established Korean sound. Not Okay is the latest to join the party, and leverages familiar sounds — for better or worse.

I haven’t been shy about expressing my distaste for much of ATEEZ’s recent output. What once was thrilling and fresh now feels predictable and increasingly obnoxious. I desperately want to form some sort of Robin Hood-esque squad to break into KQ HQ and steal whatever software they use to slather on their incessant vocal effects. I physically cringed when Not Okay‘s opening line emerged. Over the years, the sound of these effects has become so off-putting it makes it hard to enjoy the actual music.

Not Okay is bolstered by plenty of drama. A choir-like backing vocal underlines the verses and the track twists itself into a thumping dance beat for the chorus. Its finale is big and rousing like a battle scene from an anime. But this is all in service to dull melodies and a lack of cohesive structure to build upon its best ideas. I can’t be the only one who feels like ATEEZ’s melodies have fallen off a cliff since their first few years. It’s incredibly frustrating, because the building blocks are all still present but the songs themselves just aren’t appealing.






Grade: C-

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