[Review] NOIR’s “Airplane Mode” is quite a mess, but at least it slaps you around a bit

I didn’t review Noir’s debut track — mostly because it felt more like noise than an actual song — but I’m always up for a new rookie group. And by making it to a second mini album, Noir have already released more material than many of their newly-debuted peers. From its title alone, it’s hard to know what to expect from this comeback. The only ‘airplane mode’ I know prevents my phone from doing anything fun, so I’m not exactly sure what kind of buzzkill the guys were going for here.

It turns out that “Airplane Mode” is a good old-fashioned, low-budget banger. It borrows equally from K-pop’s past and present, regurgitating sounds and fusing them together to create a song that lacks imagination but resounds with energy. Your enjoyment will likely depend on how willing you are to temper expectations. The song doesn’t feature much of a chorus at all, so don’t hope for any sense of melodic pay-off. Instead, feast on the bombastic production, which takes a walloping Monsta X-esque beat and throws symphonic accents on top of it.

“Airplane Mode” must be one hell of a badass state to be in, because the guys spend most of the track grumbling and blustering and generally feeling pissed off. But as silly as all this posturing is, it’s also kind of infectious. Maybe I’m just tired of the chill, trap-influenced hip-hop hits of the year. Under almost any reasonable criteria, “Airplane Mode” is not a great track. But I kind of like how it slaps you around.

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