14U are a boy group that debuted last year but had yet to do much of anything to catch my attention, musically or otherwise. “NEWS” changes that as they hopped on the Latin dance trend and milked it for an addictive pop number.
I’m well aware that by now there’s nothing novel or original about a K-pop group utilizing this sound, but as a fan myself, I just need it to be executed well. 14U manage this, as they are provided with a rock-solid foundational instrumental led by an acoustic flamenco guitar and percussion that resembled a steel drum. It’s familiar but also undeniably pleasant. The verses keep things moving along, but it was the chorus that really set this off. From the exclaimed “LOOK AT ME” that marks its arrival to rapid-fire refrain set over an addictive melody to the repetitive spoken word at the end that segues perfectly into the next segments, everything works.
Perhaps most impressive was the execution throughout, as it was excellent in the sense that it they allowed it to unfold organically and didn’t try to overwhelm the strengths of the song, instead focusing on the select moments that required a punch of talent. My single complaint comes during the bridge, where “NEWS” roughly interjects a generic rap break. It just seemed completely out of place and didn’t match the rest of the song, so I have to assume it was included because they had rappers they had to give parts to or something of that nature.
In the end though that hardly dulls my enthusiasm for “NEWS”, nor does it put me off how impressed I was with 14U. Granted, the fact that I’m reviewing this over a week after it was released doesn’t exactly bode well for their place in the crowded K-pop sphere, but after this release I’ll at least definitely be on the lookout for them now.