First things first, I never cared about Monsta X until they dropped ‘All In’. I’ve immediately dismissed them as one of those male idol groups that sound dark and angry all the time iykwim. Groups like that get an instant no in my book. I even remember closing the tab on my browser quicker than Jooheon’s raps when I heard All In for the first time.
Lucky for them, I gave All In another spin and started liking it, particularly those synths in the chorus. It’s also a plus that the music video is interesting af with all the cult action and the subtle #lovewins undertones that they added. Also, that chorus synth instrumental is super extended in the video which I really, really, really love.
At this point, I think I slightly stan Monsta X’s music. It hasn’t reached a point where I enjoy listening to them as much as I do with Seventeen, NU’EST, or pre-If You Do GOT7 but they’re kind of okay now. For the record, I still think Hero is still an off-brand “Dope” and after scanning through their discography, the only tracks that I ended up liking are their pre-debut track ‘Interstellar’ and I.M’s ‘Who I Am’.
Bish I wanna get high~~
Anyway, the group has recently released the awaited follow-up to ‘All In’ – the grand and over-the-top single ‘Fighter’. Listening to it for the first time didn’t do any wonders to me until I remembered what this song reminded me of – SMP.
SM Music Performance or SMP is a self-made genre of the ever ambitious SM Entertainment that they kept on using during the early 2000s. Yoo Young Jin, the agency’s in-house producer, can be credited for the invention of this genre. In a nutshell, SMP is a mix of all genres that you can draw out from the music canon. Pop, RnB, Rock, Classical, Hip-Hop, EDM, and even Bhangra are some of the styles found in a single SMP song. So if you are one of those who dismissed SNSD’s I Got A Boy for being cluttered mess, you may have been too young to have not caught up on SM’s SMP era.
SM’s last trace of an SMP track is probably in 2012 when Exo debuted with the fantastic ‘MAMA’. Other than that, it’s only BAP (that I can remember) who continued releasing such tracks up until that scandal happened.
Sidenote: I really believe that BAP could’ve been as big as BTS now without that mess </3.
‘Fighter’ shares all the elements found in classic SMP songs like Super Junior’s ‘Don’t Don’ or TVXQ’s ‘Rising Sun’. It has gritty hip-hop beats playing under a grandiose string sections and with some rock elements injected because why not? If Monsta X wanted something extremely intense and dramatic, then they have really nailed it this time.
I’d like to throw some tea at Fighter’s lyrics because of how much it wasted such a song. We’ve heard endless songs with varying genres in K-Pop talking about love and I was hoping that Fighter wouldn’t be one of them but you can’t have it all. Fighter could have been way better when it was written using a more societal lens, like being a fighter in life’s adversaries or something in line with that. Same goes for All In. Oh well.
Out of all the people who are cheering
I only need you
(Ring the bell)
(I’m gonna fight for love)
This was my exact problem with BTS’ I Need U. The song is fantastic but it’s about seven boys lamenting over a girl. C’mon. And with a video talking about teenage angst and rebellion, the lyrics are just a letdown.
The video for Fighter is of course is fantastic sans the blatant ‘Stranger Things’ ripoff. Well, they probably used it because of the video’s sci-fi theme but it makes me cringe how they unapologetically copied the show’s title card. Anyway…
While All In illustrates the struggle of being a member of The Clan in a contemptuous society, Fighter highlights their battle for freedom and acceptance. It reminded me of Exo’s Lucky One sometimes (thematically) but since I loved the video for Lucky One, Fighter is of course a yes.
The best thing that I enjoyed about Fighter though is the homage to SMP which is undeniably an enjoyable type of genre – but that’s about it. The group is relatively new and they are still trying to establish an identity so it’s quite understandabld. With the amount of talent in the group, the quest may take long but they’ll fight their way to get there – I hope.
So here’s a bunch of SMP/SMP-influenced songs that you can add in your queue after listening to Fighter for consistency’s sake. You’re welcome.
TVXQ’s Rising Sun
Super Junior’s A Man In Love (Remix)
BAP’s Warrior and Power