One of the nice things about Infinite‘s music is that it has manifested into its own entity. It has become a recognizable style to the ear of most K-pop listeners and it made Infinite untouchable solely on the fact that it’s a style that belongs to them and them only.
They are those guys who sound like an ’80s synth-pop boy band, the group with all the pretty, atmospheric songs. They’ve attained this core component of the bigger picture in less time than it has taken others to do the same, and that much is impressive.
For all of their consistencies and musical uniqueness, though, I’ve also voiced my concern of Infinite sticking too close to this formula for the sake of not losing its magic:
Infinite keeps sticking to their guns, and for that, they deserve some respect. They know how they want to sound and have learned how to deliver that sound effectively. Infinite are aware of their comfort zone and have stepped slightly out of it in [Over The Top]. But now it’s time for them to experiment a little, and add a little more variety to their flavor of music.
This week, they released their third mini-album, “INFINITIZE“, where they attempt to introduce different point of views into their music in new and interesting ways (the key word here being attempt).
The album rings true as an Infinite collection, but what’s worth noting is that a lot of is is actually taking details from previous work and reintroducing those same details in different forms.
The lead single, “The Chaser“, follows along the same resonant path as last year’s “Paradise“, but amps up the pace and the 80s percussion elements so that they flow a lot smoother than before. It’s a really big song, with a heavy bassline and strong rock moments, and it took me a good three or so listens to come to grips with how weighty it is.
The following song, “Feel So Bad“, is also big, but not for the same reasons. In fact, it’s a busy song more than it is big. It has a lot of sweeping strings that trade in and out from legato to quick pizzicato sections, and an almost anime-esque electric guitar lead and piano instrumental. The whole thing makes me feel like I’m spinning with my eyes closed in the streets of the city. On top of that, it’s a sad song masked in an uplifting arrangement, which makes “Feel So Bad” even more chaotic than it already is in my mind.
But as complex as they’ve made some of these songs, most of the album flew right over my head.
Rather than feeling like I was welcoming a new movement of music, I felt like I was being handed things that I’ve already heard before, kind of like being presented with a re-gifted present (that has probably been re-gifted a few times already). “니가좋다” and “With“, while both decent songs, didn’t stand out in the least bit. They felt redundant, not because they sound like stuff that’s out today, but because they sound like songs that Infinite has tackled already. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because an artist’s music will oftentimes sound like their old shit anyway. The point though, is that they’re not showing big advancements in any particular direction, making them feel kind of stuck in this pool of tired melodies, phrases, and arrangements.
The good thing is that Infinite sounds great on this album, and their style is intact and blooming. Their vocals have never been an issue and I think I can listen to them all day, but what has let them down here is the songs. They’re not as intriguing as their songs of albums past, nor do they possess the strong commercial hooks that would make them stick like some of their bigger, better hits.
Obviously, I don’t want Infinite to trap themselves in the same ol’ cycle, but rather learn to evolve and grow themselves carefully and creatively. I don’t think that’s the problem here as much as I feel like the material on this album isn’t exactly memorable. These songs aren’t special, but they should be.
Yes, “INFINITIZE” is really pretty, but I hear a lot of great details that I feel weren’t explored to their full potential. I just wish they had come back with a full album so that Infinite could disperse all of these big elements properly.