Kicking the new decade off with a comeback, Verivery released their new single “Lay Back” and EP Face Me last week. The newest band of Jellyfish Entertainment is ready to celebrate their first debut anniversary with an uptempo and dynamic song. While undoubtedly pleasant, “Lay Back” lacks originality, and relies heavily on a classic concept and the members’ visuals.

School uniforms are one of the most common recurring elements in K-pop. To a younger audience, they make seem whoever wears them more relatable, like a classmate, while to an older audience they evoke the freshness of adolescence and become a nostalgic memory of their teenage days. Exo, BTS, Seventeen, SF9 and many more wore a school uniform before; this concept never seems to be overdue, and it’s safe to say that it’s a classic.

Verivery ace the school uniform concept and, thanks to their delicate visuals, are believable as young high school students. Unfortunately, the MV lacks a proper storyline and is hard carried by said visuals. Curious details appear in the form of Verivery dancing with a mirrored version of themselves, and the ending scene in which all but one member disappears from the spotlights shining on them. But since there is no context, the reason why is not made clear. Could it be an illusion? Could it symbolise a struggle against their inner demons?

The MV’s setting is not particularly original either. Classrooms, school hallways, practice rooms, and abandoned storage spaces are all frequently used in K-pop and don’t really add anything up to the plot, nor do they help give any more context. The transitions and explosions in the song’s bridge are similar random and confusing as well.

The most interesting part of the MV is surely the dance. While not excessively intricate, the choreography goes very well with the song. In the chorus, the dance’s accents follow the bass line, making the dance moves easy to remember even after the first watch. The presence of mirrors plays out well in the choreography, as the members alternate in the dance routine with their reflected counterparts. 

Just like with the MV, “Lay Back” as a song is not particularly original either. It’s certainly pleasant, but doesn’t particularly stand out. Heavy bass lines have been used and abused in K-pop through the years, and at this point they just feel dull and inspired. The chorus is pretty catchy, but the song struggles to really build and create a proper climax in its second half. In addition, the rap verse feels out of place, and could have been substituted with a verse more similar to the first one.

The funky and bright New Jack Swing sound present in Verivery’s releases last year seem to have been toned down, and the group are heading towards a smooth, but more generic vibe. It almost feels like “Lay Back” could have been sung by any other K-pop group. The song’s production could have been louder towards the end of the song, further emphasising the final chorus.

In a sea of K-pop debuts and frequent releases, finding an identity and a distinguishable sound gets harder by the day. It’s clear that Verivery have a lot of potential, but unfortunately “Lay Back” isn’t the song to properly display it. In this comeback, the group’s styling and their visuals shine the most, but aren’t enough to make the MV really outstanding. Relying so much on a popular concept feels like they’re trying to play too safe, rather than taking a bold step forward to cement their identity. Hopefully, we’ll get to see different sides of Verivery in their upcoming releases.

(YouTube, Images via Jellyfish Entertainment)