VANNER debuted back in 2019, but count me among those who didn’t see much reason to take notice until they won on Peak Time. Their redebut with “Performer” was solidly above-average, but not something that left an impression. For their “JACKPOT” follow-up, they seem to have got a bit more adventurous and it pays off for the most part.
One thing I really enjoy in pop music is a song that can capture a mischievous and infectious energy, almost playfully circus-like in feel and execution, and “JACKPOT” exudes that here. It’s hard not to think partially about SEVENTEEN‘s more carefree singles, but it mostly reminds me of Block B in a way I haven’t heard in a while. The verses are a highlight, revolving heavily around electric guitar, a clapping effect that’s incorporated well, and a nice almost-subtle beat in support, all of which give things a nice groove. But what elevates “JACKPOT” are VANNER themselves, as they don’t seem to have much the way of a weak link, and their vocals throughout were a positive contributor rather than something I had to overlook. The best way I can describe it is knowing the vibe of the music video before having watched it.
The chorus is likely to be more divisive, but there was more I enjoyed than not. Utilizing rock is trendy now, but it’s nice how things get heavier and louder, kicking things up a notch in the chorus and giving it a more intense edge instead of falling back like many of their contemporaries. There isn’t necessarily that one memorable refrain in there, but it’s a complete chorus and their vocal melodies help prevent the energy for getting overly serious. Of course, the “jack to the pot, jack jack to the pot” shouting back-end of things is where it might lose some, as it adds an intensity to the close but also has a bit of an awkward rhythm at times and isn’t as addictive as it could be. Still, on repeats I’ve found myself tolerating it more and more, especially because the song builds on it and incorporates that hook into the excellent balls to the wall finish.
VANNER show ambition with “JACKPOT” and provide an example of effective use of bombast, also managing to craft a surprisingly fleshed-out track despite a short run-time. While this wasn’t one of those immediately catchy, hook-y songs for me, it was at least something to put on my doing chores/I need fucking energy playlist, and I could easily see myself falling for it further if the chorus continues to age well on repeats. Not sure how their re-debut will actually end up going in the long run, but based on their first two releases, they’re musically doing better than most of the competition.