Photo Courtesy of The Boyz Twitter
Story by Makala Greene/Contributing Writer
The Boyz are back to stealing hearts with the release of their 5th mini album, “Chase.” This new EP continues the dark and sexy vibe the group has been using since their first full length album, “Reveal,” came out in February 2020. The 11-member group consists of Sangyeon, Q, Kevin, New, Ju Haknyeon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Jacob, Sunwoo, Eric, and Younghoon.
Given the pop feel of their older music, “Chaser” gives us dynamic rap verses and powerful vocals that reinforce those roots, but the sound ranges from bright and cheerful to much darker and heavier on some songs. Upon first listen I was suspicious about the new tone, but the band’s confidence in exploring this new avenue is intriguing.
The light-hearted fun of past albums gave the group a youthful, yet innocent look and sound. The new, more mysterious and sexy image they present here shows that they’re willing to alter the perception of what they can do musically, with the instrumentals also giving the songs a more mature feel.
“Shine Shine” sets the tone of the album, as it’s the first song on the track list. The group worked with producers from SM Entertainment, so you can hear heavy resemblance to SM artists like EXO on the track. It stands out as one of the most relatable tunes on the EP, while laying the groundwork for the album’s darker feel.
“Chase,” the title track, reveals the space between darkness and love as the record’s overall themes. The songs, which are written mostly in Korean, tell stories of finding love while chasing after and stealing hearts. The lyrics explore different cathartic experiences of love and lust, from going insane about a girl to having whiplash from being so lost in love.
“Killing me boom boom boom/ you you, got me lost do do, healing me move, like a whiplash,” sings the group telling the story of a boy who got whiplash from love. The catchy piece conveys the group’s older style with fluid hooks and poppy vocals, weaving in some nostalgia for the band’s earlier days.
“The Stealer” finds the band members stealing the love of a girl like they are criminals. The song is dark, fun and seductive in its textured rap verses and bold vocals. “I’m the stealer/ Going to the deepest part of your heart/ the moment you grabbed pull the trigger/ you knocked me out cruelly and disappeared,” sings the group on the chorus of the track.
A song that could have been better, or even replaced with a song we haven’t heard before, would be “Checkmate.” The song was first heard months back on a competition show called “Road to Kingdom,” a Korean battle of the bands situation. The Boyz performed the song on that show, and while the studio version is beautiful, something new may have been more exciting.
Overall, “Chase” gives us a new perspective on The Boyz and is a step forward for the group’s maturing sound.