K-Pop: Monsta X ‘No Limit’ Release

Promotional image of Chae Hyungwon for the single ‘Rush Hour’. Copyright goes to Monsta X and Starship Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I heavily debated what I was going to write today because there is so much going on right now. BTS hype is extremely high with the LA concert being this weekend and next week. I just finished watching one of the most popular K-Dramas right now; ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’. And, on top of all of this, Monsta X graced us with an amazing new single and mini album. So I’ll leave you with a promise of a K-Drama review next time and plenty of hype for BTS next week (I am not going to talk about the Grammys because I personally believe that it needs to die out), because Monsta X’s album drop is my current priority considering it’s already out. They are also my concert after BTS because I couldn’t get ATEEZ tickets which would have been in between the two concerts. (But seeing BTS and Monsta X in the next couple months is crazy enough for me.) As Kpop has broken into the mainstream media, groups like BTS and other younger groups like ATEEZ and TXT have been doing the best of most other K-Pop acts. Unfortunately, Monsta X isn’t as big as some other groups internationally which is a crime in my book. They are one of the most popular K-Pop groups in South Korea for a reason. You probably already realized by some of my past posts that I’m a huge Monsta X fan. And I seriously highly recommend them, their music is excellent. I feel like the release of this mini album is a huge reminder of what they are capable of. Especially because they completed this one member short. This album has some of my favorite vocal work and it’s just great in general. So, as usual, I’m going to go through this album piece by piece and talk about all the MVs and songs.

Rush Hour:

This is one of my favorite new releases from any group recently. Joohoney has been working on a lot of premiere singles lately and he’s really amazing at it. This is another one of his excellent songs and it packs just as much of a punch as a lot of his past work. The beat immediately kicks in right after IM’s entrance and you know that the song is going to be amazing as soon as it does. Between Kihyun’s amazing vocals for the chorus, the trade off between Hyungwon and Minhyuk, and the amazing rap breaks for both Joohoney and IM, this song is one of the most balanced and impressive singles I’ve seen in a while. It is also catchy as hell and will definitely get stuck in your head. I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since it came out. It replaced the spot in my head that had been reserved for ONEUS’s ‘No diggity’ for the last couple weeks. And ‘Rush Hour’ is one of those songs that shows that Monsta X is still in the game and ready to fight. In fact, that’s what the lyrics are about. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to this song yet, do it and watch it pull you into the fandom.

Rush Hour MV:

I’m going to start out by saying that this is some of my favorite choreography that I’ve seen from them. I also absolutely loved this concept. It goes between a western them and a racing theme, that go seamlessly together somehow even though you wouldn’t really expect it to. They pull it off amazingly though! The western theme takes up most of the choreographed parts of the MV while the racing theme goes for most of their individual shots. I just love their MVs in general. The suit and tie style of ‘Gambler’, the fifties murder mystery style of ‘Kiss or Death’, and the film tributes in ‘Love Killa’ all stick out in my head when I think of great MVs. Not even just in K-Pop, but in general. I have to say, it is weird to see an MV without Shownu, but I seriously want to commend the guys again for releasing all of this promotional stuff for their album and preparing for their world tour as a five piece. This MV felt like a declaration of a fresh start and between all their singular looks and their new hairstyles (Joohoney’s little buns in his hair were amazing), it feels fresh. If one group has MV concepts down, it’s Monsta X.

Autobahn:

This song is more of a mix of amazing vocals and club beats. It’s definitely one of those songs that would not feel out of place at a party and it’s one of theirs that goes for more of a suggestive feel. Both musically and with the lyrics. That is usually a trademark of Changkyun, IM, who did actually contribute on every aspect of this song. He’s always a master at arranging vocal parts too, so it’s no surprise that the vocal parts of this song stand out so much. What’s also cool about this song is how much it highlights Hyungwon and Minhyuk’s vocals. They almost have more vocal parts between them than Kihyun which you don’t often see. I love any chance to see all of the members of this group shine!

Ride with U:

Another more suggestive song, but this one is definitely more slow and calm and less sultry than Autobahn seems to be. And this one highlights Kihyuns vocals most in my opinion. Which are always gorgeous. Both IM and Joohoney helped with the lyrics, but this song has a little less of their help throughout. Still, it’s a great song overall and I like the more calming nature of it.

Got me in chains:

One of my favorite parts of this song is the beat. It’s less clubby and a bit more funky. But the spilt between the different members is where this stands out. Both Joohoney and IM have lengthy raps in this song and it gives a lot of opportunity for its vocalists to belt. Hyungwon doesn’t get much in this song unfortunately. But both Kihyun and Minhyuk really give it their all. Including some high notes that I should have been expecting but entirely took me by surprise. What’s kind of funny about this song is that most fans expected this to be the most suggestive on this album by the name. But this song actually isn’t. This song is more about desperate longing, and man do the vocals get this sense of desperation across. This one is another that still has the influence of IM and Joohoney, but a little less than some of the other tracks.

Just love:

This is another IM pet project, and damn does it come across as one. There’s something about this song that feels a little like IM’s solo projects and you can tell that it has his stamp in every piece of it. This also has a lot of IM vocals, but it actually doesn’t have much rap. I think we all know by now that both IM and Joohoney are actually amazing vocalists. They don’t just rap. They’re amazing at all of it. Lyrically this also isn’t a very suggestive song, it’s a very pure song about love. The meaningfulness that Changkyun poured into this song comes out in every line and really it’s one of the sweetest love songs I’ve ever read looking at the lyrics. The song discusses loving today’s version of each other and standing by each other through everything with that in consideration. This is one of the slower songs on the album and one of my favorites lyrically.

Mercy:

Another vocal belting song that I love. Kihyun goes all out on this chorus and it’s everything. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album because of how strong the vocals come across here. And also because of the rap in the middle, written by IM and Joohoney respectively. The song has a slower beat, though it doesn’t feel like a slow song and the rap almost feels like straight poetry. This effect is one that I really love but can be done oddly depending on the style of the rapper involved. But IM and Joohoney are such chameleons that I’m convinced they could do just about anything. You can’t argue that they aren’t some of the best rappers in the industry. Hyungwon’s lower register also stands out to me here. It’s just so good.

I got love:

This is a Joohoney pet project and this one also feels very much like something from him. It’s probably the most upbeat feeling song on the album. And this one is also a very pure love song. This one is just about being happy and it feels very domestic, probably because some of the lyrics are pretty domestic. This is another one that’s pretty split between everyone. Monsta X just tends to be good at that in general. Especially when Joohoney or IM are the main creators of the song. There’s plenty of rap in here too, but Joohoney also takes some of the chorus with Kihyun! Which is very sweet and only reinforces his influence on the song.

If this post hasn’t convinced you to check out Monsta X, I will once again ask you to please check them out. It is very difficult to dislike Monsta X in any capacity. They also have an incredible reputation in the industry for just being overall nice guys. If you’re wondering why I keep saying things like this, it’s because I really wish international fans wouldn’t take other K-Pop groups for granted. People overlook them even though their debut wasn’t that far off from BTS’s. Right now their world tour isn’t selling out and that in itself makes me upset. Because they deserve to have all of their venues completely sell out. They are a group that creates a lot of their own stuff, much like BTS. If you can buy a ticket I would seriously recommend it. I’ll be there and I really hope I’ll see a lot of you guys there as well!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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