Well, it’s been a while for INFINITE, hasn’t it? Over 4.5 years since their last single and a year longer than that since they were six, and as K-pop has moved forward they almost seem to be a relatively forgotten group compared to their popularity at their peak and quality of their discography. Perhaps then 13egin can serve as a way for the veteran boy group to reintroduce themselves, and single “New Emotions” is a solid way to start.
While the song is a throwback, it’s not to their own past maximalist glory, rather it’s something that like SHINee and/or Taemin would do. “New Emotions” is their take on the sleek, slinky, darker R&B track, and it holds more of a subtle appeal than their blockbusters of the past. The funky verses in particular excel, led by the fun if not somewhat terrifying vocal sample and the brisk percussion that keeps the song constantly chugging along. Not unlike many traditional pop songs, “New Emotions” builds and builds, but the pre-chorus setup ends up dropping down for the chorus. That was a disappointment for me at first, mainly for expectation reasons, but once I got over myself, I found the bassline is addictive and the understated vocal appealing. That was especially true as it eventually picks up into the rhythmically stated refrain of “you got me to lose my mind/dance with me up all night” with falsetto interjections of “sum gappeun deushi/jungdokdwae” that makes for a surprisingly melodic combination.
That said, INFINITE do have some issues here, mainly that they are keeping up with the trends and have the song be under three minutes. I feel like they could’ve easily taken this to the next level with some kind of expressive bridge and then a bigger vocal ad-libs at the end of it to put their signature on it. Maybe the kids would hate it, but who cares? You’re not going viral on TikTok, give the hags their bridge magic, dammit.
Still, despite any missed potential, “New Emotions” functions well as a smoothly-executed R&B jam, albeit a somewhat anonymous one. Either way, glad to have them back and hopefully they continue on as well, maybe with Sweetune in tow next time.