Reviews written by: wordkills and McRoth
It’s no secret that making drastic concept changes is a favorite hobby of Kpop groups. A well executed concept change can do wonders for developing a group’s musical style, but a poorly executed one can end up coming across as gimmicky — and boy, did VIXX seem like they were heading into gimmicky territory with their latest single, “On and On“.
With campy teaser photos that had the boys looking like Twilight vampires, I was a bit apprehensive about this comeback. VIXX’s past singles have all been prismatic, but “On and On” sheds that image in favor of an angstier style. Dark and brooding is an image I would have never previously associated with the group, but after listening to the song, I have to admit that all the worrying I did over this comeback was for nothing.
“On and On” is packed full of energy and a whole lot of autotune. I’m all for autotune being used to enhance a song, rather than cover up a lack of vocal ability. That’s exactly what VIXX does here; the vocal processing never once takes away from the song. The pre-chorus does a great job of building up just enough tension before diving into the chorus. Ravi’s rapping is still iffy, though judging it too harshly would be pointless. (This is Kpop we’re talking about, after all.) Luckily, his rapping is sandwiched between the hook, which is one of the highlights of the song. The phrase “I need therapy” is so addictive that it makes getting through the rap section worth it.
The best part about “On and On,” though, is that it still includes the synths that are heavily incorporated into their past releases. VIXX have successfully turned their image 180° while still maintaining their sound. Not only have they proved that they’re versatile as a group, but they’ve also carved out their own niche in the industry. Musical consistency is, at times, hard for even senior groups to accomplish, which makes this quite the feat for VIXX.
K-Pop was kind enough to debut trillions of groups for audiences last year, and among those was boy-band VIXX. It hasn’t been long since their entrance into the Korean music industry – they debuted in May 2012 with their first single “Super Hero” – but they’re already back with their first single of the year, “On and On“.
This song, as humiliatingly masochist as it is (the basic gist is that VIXX fall perpetually in love with the exact same, sadistic tease, knowing well that they’re going to get hurt by her in the end, and yet do it anyway,) carries an incredibly addicting beat to it that is not easy to put down. Quite different from the highly electronic jams of last year, VIXX’s “On and On” ventures in a far more traditional K-Pop path that focuses more on the group’s vocal presence and utilizes smart vocal processing (common with every group under SM Entertainment; hence, the overwhelming resemblance to music by EXO and Super Junior) to ultimately gel together a sweet and gratifying pop home run.
The verses are as grand as the choruses, with strong emphasis on the down beats, and build up beautifully to undeniable earworm bliss. Even better is the “I need therapy” hook, which chimes in after the second chorus, adding an even more engaging element to an already sticky single. The level of energy never lets up and it’s impressive to hear such fresh voices tackle a song of this caliber and pull it off.
“On and On” is vaguely haunting, but overwhelmingly exciting and the production value mirrors that of far more high-brow companies at their best. This in itself, coming from VIXX, poses an interesting platform for rookies and smaller entertainment companies to explore braver sounds. One listen to this, and I’m already prepped to drop my “Top 3” faves for more. (review via OhKorea Magazine, Issue #2)
Singles of any kind are not rated with the same rating system used for mini and full albums.