Welcome to another edition of me reacting to a boy group I know next to nothing about! P1Harmony is the newest group from FNC Entertainment, which is basically the only thing I know about them. I have no idea what any of the members’ names are, and I couldn’t even tell you how many guys were in the group until I hunted down a feature image for this post. So seriously, we’re basically starting from scratch here. Though I did listen to their debut song “Siren” back in October(?), and I still remember the chorus of that pretty well -which is pretty notable because I definitely have not listened to it at all in at least four months. So, I was very curious what P1Harmony’s first ever comeback would look like.
“Scared” is heavily influenced by hip hop and has some pretty aggressive beats going on. It’s primarily driven by that powerful rhythm, interesting instrumental effects, and some really charismatic rapping. I was particularly impressed by the latter; I genuinely know nothing about rap and just base my opinion on how it flows and sounds, and I really liked what I heard in “Scared.” This kind of song really reminds me of groups like Stray Kids when they were just starting out, or BTS in their very early years. It’s a pretty bold move for FNC since the Korean general public isn’t really into *intense* music, but I think it could pay off in the long run – especially if P1Harmony builds a large global following, because international fans tend to enjoy that sound a lot.
While I feel like the rappers take front and center stage with this kind of arrangement, there are also some really standout moments for the vocalists. I still don’t know names (sorry!), but the guy who sings the chorus and the blonde one singing the start of the bridge have particularly nice voices. It seems like a good distribution of talents, which is something that’s hard for a lot of groups to get – especially so early on in their career. I also find it very interesting that P1Harmony seems to be evenly divided between rappers and vocalists, because their brother group SF9 has a similar dynamic. But while SF9 tends to make songs that favor their vocalists, P1Harmony has delivered one that favors the rappers. While I’m not huge on rap-heavy songs, it’s kind of cool to hear that dynamic reversed.
When I watched the music video for “Scared,” I was really impressed to see it dealt with a more serious topic: standing up and advocating for yourself even when you are frightened. The music video really goes all in on bringing the lyrics of “Scared” to life, and I think it does a good job of visualizing fears and insecurities as cracks in the foundation and burdens as falling rocks. The characters look so hesitant and afraid, which makes the scenes of P1Harmony proudly dancing surrounded by masked followers all the more powerful. While I’ve always said that I don’t need my music to be deep and meaningful, I think it’s awesome when it is. So, I’m happy to see freshly debuted rookies tackling such an essential topic. Even though I’m much older than P1Harmony’s target demographic, I find a lot to relate to in the lyrics for “Scared” and I think it’s a really important message to hear.
That being said, I had a slight issue with the fast-paced editing of the music video for several reasons. First, I’m generally not fond of it because it hurts my eyes. Second, the editing of a music video shouldn’t be too fast if you’re trying to tell a story or prove a point because you want your audience to absorb your message. And most importantly, I didn’t feel like I got a good sense of the members individually while I was watching. K-pop music videos are often a first introduction to a group; you want potential fans to see each member and be like, “Ooh, who’s that? I need to know more.” Viewers need time to process everything they see, and I just feel like most of it went by in a blur on my first AND second watch. It’s not a huge problem, but I just feel like the editing could have been slightly more effective.
Per usual, it seems like the choreography piques my interest the most. It matches the music so well, and the movements really accentuate the different beats and embellishments in the arrangement – always a plus in my book. It’s also very sharp and angular, which appeals to my personal preferences. And I find that the members are incredibly synchronized for a rookie group, which is always enjoyable to see. I wish that the dance break had been just a tiny bit longer, because I really wanted to see more from their main dancer! (At least, I think he’s the main dancer… feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
Honestly, I’m impressed by everything P1Harmony is putting out with “Scared.” It’s very solid and consistent across the board, and it shows me they have a lot of talent and potential. However, I gave it mostly neutral marks because it’s ultimately not my thing. I feel like I say this for so many boy groups these days – and I feel guilty about it – but this is definitely one of those times where I listen to/watch something, I think it’s nice and well-done, but I just never come back to it again. But of course I recognize that P1Harmony is a rookie group that’s still figuring things out, and I always wait for three or four releases before forming a decisive opinion. So while “Scared” doesn’t really move me into fan territory, it’s intrigued me enough that I’ll be sure to check in with them next comeback.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to FNC Entertainment.