So newcomers TAHITI recently released their newest mini-album after a string of single releases. Amidst the deluge of new k-pop groups, have they got what it takes to stand out and avoid drowning under all of the competition?
Honestly, in the fast-paced, hype-driven environment that is k-pop, it is extremely difficult to become relevant and stay relevant. Only a handful of k-pop groups have the notoriety and power to stay in the spotlight for an extended amount of time and, with the recent influx of debuts from rookie k-pop groups, that means more competition and a higher chance of flopping. TAHITI hasn’t quite charmed me with their past singles but, after finding the teasers to their Love Sick MV, I was intrigued. The seductive “love sick” hook and the retro arrangement in the background both really piqued my interest prior to the release of the album so I thought I should give this album a shot.
Blow My Speakers Out
Blow My Speakers Out is the opener track in this album and it is a bit underwhelming. The distortion and editing on the vocals are typical for this genre and the electronic background is executed well and I really like how the dynamics of the song change. My gripe with this song, however, is that, for a song called “Blow My Speakers Out”, this song is rather tame and actually drags on in the latter half of the song when things get repetitive. There were buildups but few payoffs and the song ultimately flatlined. As an introductory track, I was expecting a strong hook-heavy track to get my attention for the rest of the album. This song could have easily been put somewhere in the middle and would have still had the same effect. Definitely, it is a nice track to listen to briefly but it doesn’t have too much staying power and is ultimately a weak track.
The next track is the title track, Love Sick, and I thought it was a catchy piece of music that was worthy of being spotlighted. One thing that hit me right away when I first listened to this track was that it sounded extremely reminiscent of Aly and AJ’s hit, Potential Breakup Song. Upon closer inspection, I realized that both tracks use the same exact chord progression and is in the same exact key. There were also some overlap in instrumental choices as well. I really enjoyed the retro arrangement of “Love Sick”, very 90s pop. I also love the falsetto “ooh”s and the “love sick” parts that were sprinkled in during the chorus. While it isn’t a groundbreaking track and stays closely to the tried-and-true pop song formula, it is a strong and catchy track, which is really what a rookie group only needs at this point. Save the groundbreaking, “I Got A Boy” genre-bending shenanigans until when you’re set as a top tier k-pop group; if you’re a rookie group, give us some good ol’ pop.
Following “Love Sick” is another electro track, Tonight. “Report to the dance floor”, the girls of TAHITI relentlessly implores in their robotized voices. This is just your typical dance pop track with extremely processed vocals. Unfortunately, the vocal processing wasn’t just reserved for the repetitive chorus as it seems like most of the vocals in this track has been processed. The “tonight” part sounded just awful with all of the robotic processing and the chorus really just hurt to listen to. If it weren’t for the fact that they released this mess of a track as a single before this album, I would have thought that this was just another filler track. Honestly, though, it is a rookie track, through and through, as the heavy vocal processing is trying to cover up inexperience. Which is fine, I have faith that these girls will grow in the future. Just, they better not pull this auto-tune crap once they are out of the rookie box.
If you’re looking for a drastically improved version of this song, here’s an unfinished remix of Tonight by iamrex, which sounded like what I kinda wanted Tonight to actually sound.
Hasta Luego is more electropop, which is acceptable (at least TAHITI is consistent). One thing that made me cringe was the chorus where they are taunting (“NEENERNEENERNEEEEENERRRR”) someone. On top of being completely auto-tuned, it just dangerously dropped the seriousness and maturity levels of the track. If you’re going to make an “bye betch” kind of track, you have to be graceful and sassy. The instrumental was perfect for sass and, for a few snippets in the track, the girls pull sass off momentarily. It’s just poor lyrical choices and production choices that really hampered this song from being a hit that it sought to be. I appreciated the incorporation of dubstep elements so that the track would sound more hardcore and fiercer but the cringe-worthy English and a chorus that just wasn’t sassy enough (the vocals in the verses are very sasstastic though) really hampered the quality of this track.
We finally arrive at the obligatory ballad of the album, Pretty Face. Honestly, it’s not too bad. If you’re looking for proof for vocal talent in TAHITI, this is the track that will provide such proof. These girls don’t have the absolute best vocals in the world but they do deserve to debut, that’s for sure. Very great tones Wouldn’t listen to it again unless I was in the mood for ballads but it was definitely a nice change of pace from the consecutive electropop tracks that preceded this song.
Love Sick (Remix)
Remixes are always a nice touch in albums and Love Sick (Remix) is a pretty cool track. I think this is a club-worthy take on the song and the remix really gives an alternate perspective on the song. The energy is toned down slightly, the song becomes more progressive in nature (complete with buildups to intense electronic beats) and more dance club-appropriate.
Overall, Five Beats of Hearts was not a strong release as an album. Seeing as this was a mini-album, I am expecting that they are just holding out for a stronger full album release down the line but, besides “Love Sick”, I don’t believe any of the other songs are strong enough to be competition for other k-pop releases during this summer. I understand that they are a rookie group but if TAHITI wants to even become relevant in this cutthroat industry, they better step it up. They got the potential so I expect great things from them in their first full album.
Love Sick [retro, 90s pop goodness complete with falsetto hooks and retro synths, upbeat and catchy]
Pretty Face [showcases the girls’ vocal talent well, downtempo ballad to round out the mini-album]
Love Sick (Remix) [club-ready version of a catchy track, progressive dance music]
Tonight [overly repetitive, overly processed, overly repetitive]
Hasta Luego [could have been sassier but they resorted to being as sassy as kindergarteners teasing kids at the playground]