[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. Intro : MCND AGE
4. KO, OK!
7. Not over
Marking the group's third mini-album since their debut, MCND has made a return in the new year with MCND AGE. This 7 track album is MCND's best work to date, and for good reason! These fan-favorite rookies seem to be making themselves a name and carving themselves out a comfortable niche in the industry well. MCND AGE begins with a rhythmic and catchy instrumental entitled "Intro: MCND AGE." The song is alluring and rather captivating to listen to and wets the taste buds for the title track and subsequent songs to come.
The group selected "Crush" as their title track. The song definitely follows the pattern that's developing in MCND's sound and the bouncy 808 beat stands out well. "Crush" is light-hearted fun with its focal point being the falsetto bridge into the chorus. The chanting within the chorus feels a little abrasive at first, but by the time you warm up to it, you realize that it's stuck in your head.
Despite the title, "LOUDER," the next track on this release is rather pop-focused in comparison to "Crush." There's a unique song progression on "LOUDER" with a kick drum that carries the beat. The melody is actually rather infectious despite it feeling a bit off in the song's introductory portion.
"KO, OK!" has a synth-heavy introduction with the distinct sound of a knock out leading into a powerful rap verse. The instrumental doesn't really do it for me as it makes the delivery sound a bit too cacophonous to feel cohesive. The chorus doesn't pick up quite as much as I'd like and the overall sound of the song ends up feeling a bit jumbled.
"PLAYER" changes the album's attitude thus far with an aggressive and heavily auto-tuned hip hop track. The vocals here are powerful and the bridge, in particular, is phenomenal. The song suddenly turns into intense EDM by the time the chorus comes around, making me realize that MCND's signature is this sort of loud charismatic performance, and "PLAYER" is a great example of this strength.
"Outro" hosts a piano introduction with a trap beat and is slick and pure in MCND's signature sound. Again, the song is hip hop heavy and the rap is full of energy. Luckily for Gem, the group added one more song, "Not over," which ended up being my favorite release on the album. The song is a stark contrast with the rest of the album and utilizes a fun whistle riff to carry the infectious and fun melody—the song functions as a bonus track of sorts.
MCND's music video for "Crush" is a futuristic display of charisma. The MV itself is simplistic and it's clear MCND didn’t have a huge budget to work with, which makes sense considering they're still rookies. However, I think the group has successfully maximized the use of what they were given well. The group's choreography is the MV's focal point and garners attention throughout the various sets of the MV. Overall, this MV is one of the best the group has put forth thus far, and I'm curious to see how they continue to grow as they mature into their own signature sound and style.
MV Score: 7.3
Album Score: 6.67