Tempest’s Can’t Stop Shining quickly grew into one of my favorite songs of the year, and after getting to know the group better I’m convinced this fresh, poppy sound is a perfect match for their energy. But, K-pop agencies are obsessed with showcasing versatility over building a cohesive discography, and the guys have already stumbled into their first drastic concept change. Yes, it’s true. Despite their promise, Tempest have stopped shining and started shouting.

To placate us Shiners, the group pre-released a music video for opening track Taste The Feeling on TikTok (no word on when/if it will come to YouTube). That song is nothing special, but I’ll be clutching it with a vice grip because Dragon (飛上) has to be my biggest disappointment of the year. In fact, I’m going to have to pretend it doesn’t exist. Otherwise, it taints the discography of an artist I really like.

To be clear, I think Tempest are super talented. They have some of my favorite vocals of this year’s rookies. But, Dragon is an awful 4th-gen shout-fest with unpleasant production and a downright ugly hook that’s instant headache material. It sticks out like a sore thumb alongside their other music. And on top of all that, it’s totally derivative — the latest in a long line of NCT wannabes. The song’s only oasis arrives during the pre-chorus and bridge, where the group’s vocals shine and the instrumental removes its most cloying elements. Even so, Dragon is a struggle to get through. It’s even worse than I imagined. Yuehua Entertainment, don’t do this again.

Hooks 6
Production 7
Longevity 7
Bias 6

Grade: D


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Publisher: Nick