After a promising April, the K-pop industry has me back in the doldrums. Too many songs are feeling disposable these days — catchy and stylish but lacking the indelible melodies and striking centerpieces that forge a long-enduring classic. “Fast fashion” has never felt so apt a descriptor for the industry, and ENHYPEN’s new Bite Me follows this sleek-but-empty trend.

I’ve gradually come around to ENHYPEN’s music, and their 2022 mini album was on heavy rotation throughout the summer. I tend to prefer their brighter fare to the vampire cosplay, and Bite Me borrows from both extremes. At its best, it delivers a solid melodic hook that takes me back to early-00’s pop (98 Degrees, anyone?). It cycles around this refrain too often without enough modulation to make it interesting, but a melody is a melody. I’ll take what I can get.

Even better is the first half of Bite Me‘s pre-chorus, which experiments with vocal layering to inject much-needed texture. Sadly, this is followed by a jarring chant that lands with all the finesse of a lead balloon. In a song this short, there’s no room for filler. I’d much rather have heard Bite Me‘s arrangement grow into something expansive and fresh. Without a bridge, the song fizzles into a form that feels more like an extended interlude. The song plays with one or two musical ideas, but they’re never fleshed out in a way that crafts a satisfying whole.

Hooks 8
Production 8
Longevity 7
Bias 8

Grade: C+


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Publisher: Nick