[Review] The Rose draw on indie & alternative sounds to create effective appeal on “Baby”

Idol band The Rose seemed to come out of nowhere last summer, but quickly developed a moderate amount of Internet buzz even though Korea has mostly ignored them. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about. Past tracks Sorry and Like We Used To were pleasant bursts of modern rock, but nothing that stood out to me. However, with new single “Baby” I’m fully on board the hype train.

When it comes to idol rock music, we tend to either get acoustic balladry or Maroon 5-esque pop polish. “Baby” takes a different approach, drawing from alternative and indie to forge a sound unique to The Rose. Like DAY6, this is a group of multiple vocalists, with members Woosung and Dojoon taking lead. Their tones are affected in the way that much of alternative rock tends to be, but it works here in part because we haven’t heard this approach in awhile. The two captivate with vibrato-heavy performances that compliment the percussion-heavy instrumental and lend the track a sense of the ethereal.

“Baby” is a production and vocal showcase, and its actual melody feels slight by comparison. The gorgeous surge of guitar and avalanche of constant drum patterns paints a rousing instrumental that only grows more so as electronics enter the fray during the song’s final moments. I’m less enthralled by “Baby”’s constant need to pull back into more subdued passages when it could have added an extra melodic punch, but I suppose this sense of dynamics is part of the track’s powerful, raw appeal.

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