[Review] N.Flying take the middle road on “Oh Really”

Idol rock group N.Flying have been absent since last October, when they released the groovy, understated Good Bam. Personally, I’ve been waiting for them to return to a more raucous sound. For me, the one-two punch of The Real and Hot Potato remains their defining era, even though the more straightforward Rooftop was the song to bring them universal acclaim. New single Oh Really. (아 진짜요.) plays things down the middle, and winds up dangerously close to middle-of-the-road.

Oh Really’s sing-song melody reminds me of something we’d hear from YG Entertainment – specifically, a Winner track. I’m generally not a fan of sing-song structures, but the approach matches N.Flying’s goofy energy. My knowledge of Korean is very minimal, but 진짜요 has always been a favorite phrase of mine. It’s one of those expressions that perfectly articulates its meaning just by the sound of it, and it’s almost impossible to say without some sort of animated inflection.

Linguistics aside, I think Oh Really is just alright. It aims for the fun irreverence of N.Flying’s 2017-18 material, but the track is a little too repetitive for its own good. On the plus side, the song is stuffed with hooks. Even though the instrumental rarely rises above a satisfying strum, there are no dull moments to be found. The rap and vocals are integrated well together, giving both Seunghyub and Hweseung time to shine. As usual, the latter steals the show via an explosive pre-chorus that hints at a more anthemic sound I wish Oh Really had explored further. Instead, we’ve got a nice pre-summer bop. It’s a genial piece of pop music that will probably age just fine despite its lack of verve.

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IATFB says: Yeah, we’re kinda on the same page here. Especially by N.Flying’s standards, this was rather safe and pleasant more than impactful, but it says a lot about how things have been going that it was rather nice in that regard.

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