GOT7 get back on track with “You Are”, which has overriding appeal despite flaws

I haven’t been a big fan of GOT7‘s shift in style over the past year and a half, but sub-unit JJ Project’s melodic “Tomorrow, Today was one of this summer’s nicest surprises. By bringing back a sense of classic pop songcraft, JB and Jinyoung successfully lay the groundwork for the resurgence of melody in GOT7’s music. And while “You Are” doesn’t quite reach the heights of the group’s best material from 2014-15, it provides the fullness and warmth that has been lacking over the course of their past three singles.

The song’s instrumental is still a bit too trendy for my taste, filled with those ubiquitous atmospheric synth squiggles that felt overused even a year ago. Fortunately, they’re only one of many elements at play. A funky electronic riff fuels the track, over which dynamic percussion builds to the explosive chorus. And wow, is it nice to hear GOT7 deliver an actual chorus! It’s a short but sweet piece of melody, aiming for anthemic and just about getting there. An extra post-chorus refrain would have improved things tenfold, as it feels like the energy cuts off just as things get going. The final moments of the song are particularly galvanizing, stuffed with the kind of soaring vocals that warrant an extended mix.

Like JJ Project’s single, I almost wish “You Are” nixed the rap entirely. Obviously, a title track needs to provide something for each member to do, but the song’s hip-hop elements feel slightly out of place and slow the overall build. They’re used well during the second verse and bridge, but could have been cut entirely from the pre-chorus for a more streamlined approach. Still, these minor gripes don’t blunt the song’s overriding appeal. It’s a song that feels more authentic and fully-realized than any title track GOT7 have released in over a year, and that alone is worthy of applause.

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