Trapped in a bright and beautiful dream dimsension, Enhypen are faced with impending danger in their newest comeback.
After having escaped the orphanage seen in their debut, becoming immortal and gaining vampiric special powers in their last comeback, the opening track of Dimension: Dilemma, “Intro : Whiteout,” teases an ascent from dazed darkness to a blindingly bright, calm nirvana. Jake’s narration describes emerging into a world with piercing light, cold water, the bright noonday sun, and an elusive island that holds treasure attainable only from something precious given in return.
Starting from a simple electronic beat, the tempo of the unstable melody gradually quickens until it fades seamlessly into a more complex, bright beat that remains constant for the rest of the song. The structure and rhythm of the beginning is reminiscent of exactly what Jake describes: the feeling of your eyes adjusting to light after emerging from a dark place. However, he also suggests this feeling as “welcoming and a warning” like the necessary dangers of our own sun. Without it, Earth would be unable to sustain life, but if it were to get any closer every living creature could be reduced to ash. Unlike Enhypen’s previous intros, “Intro : Whiteout” is brightness personified, full of upbeat hope and opportunity, with just a tinge of darkness hiding underneath it.
The next four songs are surprisingly light, occasionally breaking character with glimpses of darkness. The title track “Tamed-Dashed” is almost entirely hopeful and deceptively carefree. The members are seen playing rugby, enjoying the sunlight (mostly immune to its effects despite being vampires), and frolicking along a picturesque beach. Seemingly devoid of people, the events in the music video are almost too polished and perfect: the banners hang on the walls of their school, Decelis Academy, seemingly untouched, their clothes are pristine and fashionable, and the cinematography is bright and fun. It reads almost like the calm before a storm, blissful ignorance before possible calamity.
In the MV, not only do the boys seem to have taken up residence at a distinguished boys academy, but they seem to have developed stronger supernatural abilities. Heeseung demonstrates telekinesis when he stops a rugby ball and Niki might have some level of time travel abilities. (In the last scene, he is standing in the middle of a forest wearing similar clothes to what they wore in their debut MV “Given-Taken.”) There are no teachers or backup dancers in sight, and posters in the background of the MV suggest some kind of “nightball” tournament, making it sound increasingly like a live action parody of Cross Academy from Vampire Knight.
The most compelling moment of the MV actually does not happen in the academy, but in the forest nearby. There is an interlude before the last chorus with the members in tattered clothes and emerging from underneath umbrellas shielding them from the sun to feel the sun on their face. Bursting into smiles of relief and joy, the members run towards the school with a wary Sunoo trailing behind. Among all the excitement, he alone seems unsure of their newfound resilience and whatever this new dimension holds in store for them (and for good reason! An after-credit scene teases the next saga as “Dark Moon: The Blood Altar…” which does not sound good to say the least).
The music in the MV follows suit. Bright and cheery, the instrumentation is heavily rock influenced with a chorus of na-na-nas and prominent, driving electric guitar and bass riffs. The melody in the chorus is a complete earworm, mirroring the members’ excitement to experience the world (mostly) like regular teenage boys. In addition to the rock-centric sound are the members’ many vocal tracks. Not only do the members frequently trade off portions of verses, but their vocal chops punctuate the melody and they often double or triple parts of the chorus. The combination makes for a really strong and evocative title track that stands out in contrast to their darker previous title tracks.
Most similar to the title track is “Go Big or Go Home.” It is being promoted alongside the title track and boasts a thick, bass-driven texture and timbre. The syncopated bass line and catchy hook melody stick out from the overall sound and add to the busy texture. Confident and fun, the boys are feeling their metaphorical vampiric prowess.
On the lighter side of the track list are the songs “Upper Side Dreamin’” and “Just A Little Bit.” Both are more acoustic in instrumentation and dreamy in their vocal styling. The members utilize more falsetto and softer dynamics to accentuate the rawness of the more balladic style. The former, “Upper Side Dreamin’” has sustained synth patches that outline the harmony underneath a funky bass line and the members’ vocals. The melody of the verses and pre-chorus are understated and lure the listener in before the hook and chorus. The latter “Just A Little Bit” is gentler and accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar in the forefront of the mixing. It is simpler, but the harmony-laden “just a little bit” in the chorus entice the listener and allow the members’ vocals to shine through.
The most unique and stand-out additions to Enhypen’s discography thus far are “Blockbuster” and “Attention, please!” Both are loud and spunky, like the moody teenage angst phase of an early 2000s boy band. Interestingly, both songs hold similar messages: to live one’s life like you’re the protagonist. “Blockbuster” features TXT’s Yeonjun rapping and expresses their desire to live like the hero of an action movie. The lyrics drive this idea with verses like “I do whatever I want, and I survive until the end, Like a blockbuster.” And “every day’s like a party.” Enhypen mostly take the choruses while Yeonjun adds his unique vocal color to the verses. The sound of the music is abrasive in a delightfully evocative way that fits the message of the song and spiciness of Yeonjun’s rap additions.
“Attention, please!” is equally unapologetic and sassy. Lyrics express sentiments like “Popularity, love, I wanna have them all,” “Attention, please! Everyone pays attention to me,” and “look at me who’s the popular kid,” like the protagonist of a high school drama. There is a bit of self-awareness to this teenage angst though with lyrics like “I’m in a dilemma, I’m afraid I’ll lose everything.” The music that accompanies the punky lyrics punctuate the intensity and brashness of the lyrics with overdriven, loud electric guitar, evocative electric bass lines, and gang vocals like something straight from a group on Warped Tour. It is unclear what has been in the songwriting water at HYBE lately, but it seems punk, emocore, and rock are here to stay for the time being, and Enhypen performance the style with a convincing rebellious teenage authenticity.
The last track “Interlude : Question” explores the members coming down from their excitement and evaluating who they are and what their next steps will be going forward. The music is catchy and fun with very little dissonance or foreboding, further highlighted by Jake’s narration again. Interestingly though, this track truly serves as an interlude rather than an outro, teasing the next chapter of Enhypen’s story. Harmonically it also sounds like the strings move up to the dominant, and while the bass eventually makes it down to the tonic of the chord, the chord progression is left unresolved, like a slightly more irritating musical version of “to be continued.”
From emerging out of the darkness into the sunlight to teenage angst and self-awareness, Enhypen’s Dimension: Dilemma is an exciting interlude that sees the members happy and content for the time being, but not without a nagging danger around the corner. This tinge of darkness is highlighted by the progression of the tracks from fun and exciting to surprisingly gritty. Here’s to hoping the poor orphaned vampire boys enjoy this light while it lasts, because it seems some serious tribulations are in store going forward.
(YouTube , Translations via ZF Team at Zaty Farhani, Fandom, Vans Warped Tour. Images via Belift Lab)