As Seoulbeats celebrates our 14th anniversary this July, we are running a fundraiser. Our team works hard to share critical perspectives of K-pop daily, all on a voluntary basis. Donate via Ko-fi (ko-fi.com/seoulbeats) to keep us going!
It’s always fun and exciting to watch a boy group grow up with each comeback, and with Enhypen, that is exactly what we are seeing. Of course, while Enhypen have always produced relatively mature and upbeat tracks, they have always upheld this sense of freshness and wonder that comes with seeing the world for the first time. Considering the fact that their ages ranged from 14 to 19 years old at the time of debut, and now it has moved up to 16 to 20 years old (really feeling how unsuccessful I am for my age here…), we are starting to see this maturity and growth not only in their music, but also in their concepts. Their latest release, “Future Perfect (Pass the Mic)” is loud, chaotic, and unapologetically them. When I say “them”, I really mean THEM. The MV matches the energy of the song and its lyrics, with the main focal point as the group as a whole.
Now, this might seem like an obvious statement to make–of course the main focal point is the group; Enhypen is a group, so the focus should be on them. However, what is really interesting is that we rarely get any solo shots of individual members throughout the MV, which are typical of most group releases. And even when we do, the solo features are always working in conjunction with the group as a whole, as opposed to shifting our focus from the group to a particular member. We focus on individual members at times, but we can always see other members of the group in the background before it cuts to a wide shot of the group once again. This ties in very neatly with the lyrics of the song, which places emphasis on teamwork, and how they intend on moving forward together without leaving anyone behind.
Bring out my real voice
And draw our future
Shout out together
That moment in our future perfect
Shout out together
You and I,
You and I will have become us
Now, it has become a rite of passage for boy groups to go through their partying and bad boy phase. BTS have done it, Stray Kids have done it, Shinee have done it… Everyone under the moon has done it, and it makes sense that Enhypen would end up following this path as well. It is very much like a coming of age event in the realm of K-pop, where young, fresh-faced boy groups attempt to show their maturity by playing up the role of the bad boy, and essentially becoming role models for fighting against the oppressive system our society has created to stifle individuality and self-expression. Enhypen definitely does it well, and by having “Future Perfect” under the hip hop genre, or more specifically, Chicago Drill, they are able to play up the role of rebellious youths taking on the world.
The MV also subverts our expectations of what the viewers might have thought the song would be like. The MV opens with the members wearing white t-shirts with blue pants, and it looks relatively happy and bright, tricking the viewer into thinking that they would be listening to a bright and peppy pop song. However, they contrast the visuals with the hook, which contains darker and grittier elements, before changing the environment and atmosphere of the MV completely with an abandoned garage set with fire pits, where the boys are dressed in streetwear and surrounded by hooded figures.
Despite how well produced the MV and song is, it is a shame that most songs tend to focus more on the shouting element in order to create a feeling of rebelliousness and defiance towards an oppressor. With the newest generation of K-pop rising up the ranks, this trend of sing-shouting has also been on the rise. While it isn’t a bad thing on its own, more groups have been noticeably following this trend, and unfortunately, it results in a lot of similarities in terms of discography amongst groups.
“Future Perfect” is definitely not the worst in the genre of noise music, but I would not say it is the best either. Enhypen have shown that they have shown vocals and incredible range, so it is a bit disappointing for none of that to be shown in “Future Perfect”. Of course, this may just be an introduction to the genre, and a hint that Enhypen may incorporate more elements into their subsequent music, thus providing us with a beautiful fusion of both.
“Future Perfect” does grow on you the more you listen to it. Would I say that this is the best Enhypen comeback we have had so far? Probably not. It is a decent comeback, and the MV’s stunning visuals and focus on the group as a whole definitely elevates the comeback overall.
(YouTube. Images and Lyrics via HYBE Entertainment.)