The Boyz is the first boy group to debut under Cre.Ker Entertainment and the groundwork has been laid for an end-of-the-year smash hit. Taking on a December debut is a bold move but it makes sense as most new releases have been forgone in favour of holiday-themed filler tracks. Making a strong impact is achievable, particularly with strategic management, which The Boyz seem to have in spades. The space allowed by a late debut gives listeners the opportunity to get to know some new faces of which The Boyz have plenty.

Individual members have been making appearances on talent shows and other artists’ MVs throughout the year. As a group, they released a pre-debut track and filmed an online reality show giving fans ample opportunity to get to know them as a team and individually. Anticipation was high among existing fans so The Boyz had two important tasks to achieve with their debut: first, keep the support they’ve garnered buoyant, and second, introduce themselves to new listeners.

“Boy” isn’t breaking new conceptual ground for them or debuts in general but it’s good enough, particularly at this time of year. The song has a few tropical influences, enough to make it trendy, but not so much to turn off everyone who is dog tired of hearing dolphin noises.  The track moves and changes quickly, mainly because the group has 12 members and giving each one time to shine is a tough ask. It’s a little messy in its arrangement but many sins can be forgiven if they’re passed by quickly enough, which they definitely are in this song.

In terms of imagery, the MV is less haphazard than the arrangement of the song. The plot isn’t strictly defined but rather follows a theme of discovery. There are two groups of three members and three pairs who interact in the video. In each grouping, the members meet, sometimes after showing their talents as with Haknyeon and Sunwoo in the subway. This is useful in showing the audience the dance and visual strengths of the members in more digestible chunks. The meetings are done so well, the number of members doesn’t feel overwhelming as it sometimes does with larger groups. Everyone is able to show individuality and have their own moment. Doubtless, new fans will be writing fan fiction about the instant Jacob enters with his guitar and Sangyeon is stunned by his smile for the foreseeable future.

The coolest shots of the MV are of the group choreography which is inserted between the smaller group interactions. The dynamism of the camerawork elevates the impressive choreography to another level. Sometimes it’s difficult to notice the subtlety of movement when there are so many participants but how the choreography and shots are set up, you don’t ever feel like you’re watching a flash mob. It feels like an absorbing performance by a group of individuals, each with their own appeal. Using techniques like cutting between costumes synchronised with the beat and periodically focusing on the centre dancer makes sure the group shots are never stagnated. There’s always a clear vocal point who’s doing something engaging. The slow motion used as the members descend from a jump instantly adds visual interest to the dance scenes.

Sonically, the track is less focused, probably because they haven’t fully mastered how to arrange the voices to show them all off but it’s listenable and catchy. There are standout moments like Sangyeon and New’s synchronised high note towards the end that prove memorable. Lyrically, “Boy” fits the debut trope of being simultaneously about love and appealing to fans to support the group.

Every day, I dreamed
(about this moment, it’s finally here baby)
Among all the other eyes on you
I always dreamed of you, hold my hand
I’ll run to you, I’ll show you
magic for you

“Boy” does a decent job of showing off the strengths of the members without overwhelming viewers with their numbers. In the age of boy groups with ever-increasing numbers, this in itself is a feat. They’ve also managed to release a MV with enough energy and talent to draw interest at an opportune time of year. The song is a mixed bag but the good parts are good enough and the visuals take the complete package from being forgettable to a burst of welcome energy at the end of the year. The strategic release and preparation for The Boyz debut will probably ensure audiences will be hearing a lot from them in the not-too-distant future.

(YouTube, Lyrics via Pop!Gasa, Images via Cre.ker Entertainment)