This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.
1. Dear Diary : 2016.07.29
4. TO THE BEAT
6. Good Lil Boy
7. One Day At A Time
As the fourth generation of K-Pop artists continue to grow as idols and hone in on their talents, the group ATEEZ comes to the forefront of my mind almost immediately when I think of what the next generation can bring in terms of showmanship, talent, and skill. ATEEZ has never been afraid of challenging the norm of K-Pop's sound and I find that to be worth watching as the genre of K-Pop continues to evolve. That being said, the newest release, ZERO: FEVER Part.1 marks the group's 5th mini album.
My first impression upon giving the album a few listens over is that I am in love with the tracklisting. I will admit here, I haven't been a huge diehard on fourth-generation boy groups because I find that they have the tendency to be "loud" when "loud" doesn't necessarily mean good, but, ATEEZ, blew me out of the water by showcasing some incredibly dynamic range on this album.
The album begins with "Dear Diary: 2016.07.29" which sets the scale for a passionate retelling of a diary entry with a youthful voice. The content of the diary entry seemed to be representative of the group's journey as a whole, but in particular, the last 30 seconds where the fading beat of track 2 - "FEVER" is incorporated to give a natural transition into the booming bass of the next song was perfection. Track 2, "FEVER" caught my ear immediately. ATEEZ and their production team do a really great job on this album with guiding you into thinking a song is going to sound a certain way, but throwing a spicy engineered twist to make it feel even better than anticipated.
ATINY, again, got to vote between "THANXX" and "INCEPTION" as the title for the album. I think the method of choosing a title track through a vote is a methodology that other companies should allow their fans to participate in. That being said, I'm glad "INCEPTION" won out, the dark and edgy was just a bit more interesting than the stringed instrument melody on "THANXX". However, my biggest wish would have been that "TO THE BEAT" was the single. I think it's a modern hip hop approach to K-Pop with the right amount of autotune and trap influence without feeling completely Westernized in sound. Again, the tracklisting is near perfection as no track is a shock and the natural progressions of each song feels purposeful and deliberate.
The biggest surprise on ATEEZ album was their entirely English song, "One Day At A Time". The song gives me the feeling that there are heavy significance and inspiration behind the lyricism and melody. The song feels impactful and leaves a really deep impression on me. In fact, after I listened to it, I audibly said- "they've matured a lot" to myself. I adore the melody on "One Day At A Time" so much it's probably my favorite song from the release.
The age-old concept of "dark and edgy" never fails in K-Pop. It's one of the tried and true safeties of an MV concept, but ATEEZ executed without a hint of campiness, which I commend them for greatly. "INCEPTION" has an insanely infectious EDM hook that draws attention like no other, and I'm impressed we're venturing back into the era of house music inspired K-Pop (but not complaining!).
Production on this MV is fairly standard, given the sets seem familiar in some way (as if I've seen them or a similar concept before). However, I do really enjoy the spin on these classic sets towards the latter half of the music video. Things like the classroom turning into a fiery hell space were really enjoyable. ATEEZ continues to showcase their range, growth, and talent as a polished boy group that shouldn't be forgotten when it comes to the 4th generation.
MV Score: 8.3
Album Score: 9.7