With their past few releases, rookie group The Boyz has begun to develop a high-energy, funk pop sound that reminds me of SHINee at their most upbeat. Both “Giddy Up“ and “Right Here“ point towards a style I’m eager to hear more of — especially given 2018’s trend of brooding mid-tempos. For that reason, it’s hard not to see “No Air” as a disappointment. While the song is solid throughout, its adherence to tropical pop’s most basic tropes is a bit of a buzz kill.
Quite frankly, I thought K-pop would have churned through this specific style over a year ago. I’m beginning to think that “tropical” has become a permanent sub-genre within the industry’s once vast collection of sounds. And, I’m almost at the point of making peace with that. Almost. For now, I’m trying to look past the trendy ornamentation and right into the root of a song.
“No Air”’s chorus-esque hook is one of those instances where the producers have strung a couple of catchy melodic phrases together like loops in a beat. These fragments aren’t particularly developed or interconnected, but they land well enough on their own. The verses are less memorable, despite being more fleshed out. The vocals mostly just ride the familiar beat without adding much to the overall construction.
Oddly, the song’s repetitive post-chorus hook is its most dynamic moment. This is positioned just before the languid bridge, and repeated once more as “No Air” reaches its conclusion. The instrumental briefly revs up with a chugging electronic beat that could have spawned a much more interesting single. As it stands, the track feels more like style than substance — and it’s a style that’s long since passed the point of over-saturation.