Monsta X’s Gambler made a very good case for increasing creative control in idol comebacks. Co-composed and arranged by member Joohoney, the song felt like a genuine expansion of the group’s sound. New single Rush Hour pulls a few more producers into the mix, and comes across as an amped up version of Monsta X’s debut-era singles.

From the album preview alone, I knew I’d enjoy Rush Hour’s beat. It carries the same boisterous bluster as so many Monsta X tracks, but also has a great snap that feels funky and forward-moving. Perched upon a distorted riff, the production never loses steam. Its single-mindedness is quite thrilling, and I love how gargantuan the instrumental sounds. Rush Hour nails its post-chorus/second verse transition, briefly segueing into an anthemic stomp. My old frenemy “the whistle” makes a prominent appearance here, but it’s not overplayed in the way we’ve heard from some recent tracks (*cough*… *NCT*). I appreciate its place as a part of the overall mix rather than a focal point.

As far as the actual songwriting goes, Rush Hour isn’t quite as tightly constructed as Gambler. The first part of its chorus is fantastic. The way the energy speeds and swerves here is effective and illustrative of the concept. But, the hook loses focus halfway through, leaning on generic sing-talk phrases rather than expanding on the promise of its opening lines. There’s enough frenzied fury pumping through this segment to compensate for its predictability, but I still long for a more satisfying payoff. The pre-choruses are equally generic, though they’re performed with aplomb. Meanwhile, Rush Hour’s rap-heavy verses are quintessential Monsta X. I’m not always in the mood for their shouty, swaggy approach, but I think it works pretty well here. They certainly bring the intensity.

Hooks 8
Production 9
Longevity 9
Bias 8


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Publisher: Nick