[Review] Boyfriend’s status unclear, but “Stay The Way You Are” gets the job done

I’m honestly a little confused when it comes to Boyfriend’s current status. Their contracts would have expired last year, but I never remember hearing news of a renewal. As much as I love the group’s music, I would have pegged them for a likely disbandment simply because Starship Entertainment rarely does anything for them in Korea anymore. Yet here they are in 2019, releasing another Japanese single ahead of their third full-length J-pop album.

I really do hope the group pulls through. Their string of Sweetune-produced music is one of the most underrated discographies in K-pop, and their Japanese work has been consistently strong as well. “Stay The Way You Are” is another example of this. The song feels somewhat underwhelming the first time through. It’s straightforward and generic, but it gets the job done.

J-pop tends to favor more drawn out, complex melodic refrains than K-pop, and this approach can take some time to get used to. “Stay The Way You Are” opens with its defining chant of a hook before retreating to a standard dance-pop build. The instrumental recycles 2012-era EDM synths, which would have felt completely unoriginal five years ago. Yet, perched in the current climate of tropical future trap, they come across as downright refreshing.

Better yet, the surging chorus acts as a shout-it-from-the-rooftops anthem that soars in all the right places. None of this is remotely edgy or novel, but “Stay The Way You Are” is the kind of musical comfort food I’ve been missing lately.

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