[Review] 3YE make rather forgettable debut with “DMT”

K-pop tends to cannibalize itself, which can muddle the meaning of “debut” when it comes to new groups. 3YE (pronounced “Third Eye” because … of course it is) have debuted with their first digital single “DMT“, but the members have already been active in the industry. All three were part of disbanded girl group Apple.B, who was managed by the same agency.

I understand the desire to drastically shift names and concepts in the hope of a much-needed reboot, but I wonder just how confident these girls feel when it comes to their management and promotion. Things didn’t work out last time. Why would they now? Well, 3YE are hedging their bets on a stylistic overhaul. While Apple.B was cute and bubbly, “DMT” sees the group trying on a hard-edged blast of EDM swagger.

The overall sound is more captivating this time around, but the song suffers from relying too heavily on formula. Listeners are hit immediately with heavy percussion and distorted electronics. “DMT” wastes no time launching into its beat-drop hook. As far as instrumental loops go, it’s unremarkable but not unlistenable. Like much of the track, the production feels lifted straight from dozens of like-minded singles over the past few years.

While the structure may be overly familiar, the use of dubstep feels almost nostalgic. This genre was omnipresent in 2013‘s K-pop oeuvre, eventually fading as trap became more mainstream. It’s kind of fun to hear it again, though the track doesn’t make interesting use of its jagged flourishes. Instead, its bombastic presence punctuates hip-hop verses and a pre-chorus that strains to offer a kind of quasi-melody.

The girls are definitely singing on “DMT”, but even after a few listens I can barely remember anything that happened between the noisy instrumental portions. That’s probably not a good sign for 3YE, but I could say the same about their work as Apple.B.

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