My relationship with GOT7’s post-2015 music has been fraught with disappointment and disinterest. However, 2019 reignited some sparks, led by a strong spring mini album and a great fall single in the form of the funky “You Calling My Name“. It was satisfying to hear the guys tackle something a little more lighthearted in sound, devoid of any need to appear dark or serious. Unfortunately, new track “Not By The Moon” is the umpteenth moody boy group release of 2020, without much to distinguish it from all the others.
I had hope for this, especially with agency-head JYP listed as a producer. He’s usually got a good ear for funk, or at the very least smooth, late-90’s r&b. Imagine my disenchantment, then, when “Not By The Moon” opened with the exact same instrumental palette we’ve heard countless times before. Angsty, pitched vocals and synths? Check. Trap-inspired EDM build? Double check. I find nothing inspiring about the production here. It’s utterly predictable at every moment, and just lumbers along without charm or necessity.
Melodically, “Not By The Moon” is a bit stronger. Its verses are largely time-fillers, whether in the form of languid sing-talk or characterless rap. But, the chorus stirs some interest. It’s repetitive in structure, but that approach adds a bit of rhythm to an otherwise clunky track. It’s well-performed and attempts a sense of musical catharsis that brings needed drama. I especially like the song’s last thirty seconds, when the instrumental finally decides to transform into something more spontaneous and supports a climax that almost feels anthemic. Still, if last year represented two steps forward, “Not By The Moon” is one frustrating step back.
IATFB says: “You Calling My Name” was one of my favorites last year. All I have to add to this review is to say that this … was not that.