I’ve enjoyed Monsta X’s material in fits and starts, but have found their aggressive hip-hop sound to be slightly cumbersome at times. However, when last year’s funky “Dramarama“ rolled around, it felt as if the group were beginning to reinvent themselves. New single “Jealousy” continues this trend, though not without a few reversions to that classic Monsta X sound.
My taste being what it is, I wish the guys would push this new style without looking back. “Jealousy” is almost entirely terrific, apart from the few concessions it makes towards the group’s harder-edged image. Not every song needs a trap-rap breakdown within its ranks. Sometimes it just feels shoehorned in, and that’s the way the ill-fitting bridge in “Jealousy” comes across. A second version of this song exists in my imagination, more streamlined and unafraid to embrace the elements that make it unique.
But barring that clumsy bridge and a barely-there second verse, “Jealousy” works wonders with its 80s-inspired vocal hook and melodic chorus. The instrumental takes a straightforward pop beat and adds just enough bluster to give it grit. I would have loved to see a stronger injection of synth, which seems to be the hallmark a track like this is really calling for. But once we get to the standout chorus, all concerns are rendered moot. It’s a wonderful piece of pop melody — emotive and instantly catchy. The funky background vocals add great texture, and may just be one of the most idiosyncratic touches Monsta X has ever given us. There’s an absolutely stunning pop song hidden in here, trying to claw its way out from some of the noise surrounding it. But even in its current incarnation, “Jealousy” is pretty darn satisfying.