It’s kind of wild how my feelings about The Boyz have changed in such a short amount of time. They debuted during a period when I was pretty ambivalent about youthful and upbeat music – which was their original concept – so I didn’t really pay attention to them for a while. But when I saw them on Road to Kingdom, I was super impressed by their performances and felt that I learned a lot about them as singers and performers… and now here I am as a full-fledged fan one year later. I even put Hyunjae in my banner image for this blog, so it’s safe to say I like them a lot. My fondness only grew during Kingdom, so I was definitely excited about their post-show comeback. And it’s safe to say that I was NOT disappointed.
“Thrill Ride” is somewhat of a return to the fun and fresh music The Boyz released in their early years. It’s a light and grooving hip hop like track that stays at one tempo but still throws a lot of fun twists and turns into the arrangement. Initially, I was a little surprised that The Boyz decided to go back to their original concept after they gained so much popularity with charismatic releases like “Checkmate” and “The Stealer.” I’m not as resistant to bright and happy music as I used to be, but it’s still not my favorite style. So I started out my first listen thinking that I wouldn’t like it as much as their recent music… but I was completely won over by the time the song ended. I really enjoy the syncopated percussion and rhythm, and the melody is so ridiculously addictive that it WILL NOT LEAVE MY HEAD. (Not that I’m complaining!)
Like I always say, dance is one of my main interests in K-pop and I’m always looking closely at choreographies. This is especially true for The Boyz, since I was primarily drawn to them because of their Road to Kingdom performances. Once again, they’ve certainly delivered on this front – I’ve watched the dance for “Thrill Ride” so many times, and I can confidently say it’s one of my new favorites. It’s so entertaining and energetic, and it really emphasizes the carefree bouncy feeling of the song. And since The Boyz have eleven members, they can use their numbers advantage to create lots of fun and interesting formations. My highlight is most definitely at the end of the first chorus, when they all make a rollercoaster that winds around the stage. (which is a lot harder than it looks, because they need to get their spacing and timing exactly right.) It’s so unique and original, and it never fails to impress.
The music video definitely brings the summer feels, featuring The Boyz working at a hotel as lifeguards, bellhops, and servers. In their downtime, they relax by lounging by the pool and riding go-karts. It’s pretty lighthearted and enjoyable, but I must admit it lowkey makes me laugh because I can’t tell what the main concept is supposed to be. Half of the shots show the members being their fun-loving slightly goofy selves, and the other seem to be pushing a “hot boy summer” vibe. (That shot of Hyunjae within the first five seconds left me thoroughly unsettled.) So there’s a little bit of duality going on, and I find it kind of amusing. But whether The Boyz are just playing around or actively trying to make their fans thirsty, there’s no doubt that they’ve captured their fans’ attention.
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.)
I won’t talk too much about Kingdom for those who haven’t seen it, but I really empathized with The Boyz and their journey on that show. It seemed like they were feeling a lot of pressure going in as the winners of Road to Kingdom, and I felt they had a bit of identity crisis over their group’s image. But they pulled through and came out stronger than ever, and “Thrill Ride” is solid evidence of that. Going back to their original boyish and charming concept has had a rejuvenating effect – they definitely appear more confident and at ease, and it feels like they’re really living their best lives. While I still personally prefer their more intense and mature music, “Thrill Ride” has definitely made a distinct impression on me. It’s my favorite song out of all the new ones I’ve heard so far, and I will most certainly be listening it and watching that choreography for a good long while.
(“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 belongs to Cre.ker Entertainment. The featured image is from the official Twitter account for The Boyz – you can see the original tweet here.