Monsta X first debuted in 2015 with their catchy hit “Hero,” and their popularity grew rapidly from there. They have expanded their fanbase outside of Korea and Asia and into the West, performing on a number of American shows and stages. Monsta X has a very distinct sound, a bit more edgy than other popular K-pop groups such as BTS, which has a very poppy style, and NCT, which has a more experimental style.
Before 2018, Monsta X’s albums were hit or miss with me, and I only listened to a handful of songs from each generally. However, with their 2018 album, “Take.1 Are You There?,” their sound has become more evolved and consistent, and I have every song from that album and all the following albums saved onto my playlists. Even when they lost an integral member, Wonho, to a solo career, their music still keeps stunning.
The most recent album, “Fatal Love,” is one of my favorites of theirs. The album is a well-produced mix of chilled out hip hop, rap, dance, and the edgy sound that partially defines Monsta X. All the songs on the “Fatal Love” album are awesome, but I will highlight my top three songs for the purposes of this review.
“Guess Who” is the fourth song in the album with chilled instrumentals, but with a powerful rap that goes into a chill chorus. The song is a delightful mix of Monsta X’s edgy unique sound and chilled out hip hop. I don’t listen to too much American mainstream music, so I can’t say much about how the sound compares to that, but this song is something you won’t really find in the rest of K-pop.
“BEASTMODE” is the sixth song in the album, and the title aptly matches the tone of the song. It has a powerful opening that turns into rap, then the bridge is a bit more chilled, and then the song drops and the chorus hits. The chorus is comprised of strong vocals and hard instrumentals, reminiscent of some of the dance music I used to listen to but with vocals added. This song is definitely a quintessential song, very Monsta X.
“Sorry I’m Not Sorry” is the 10th and final song on “Fatal Love.” It is very lowkey and relaxed, a smooth sound with a tone of finality as Monsta X says goodbye and thank you. However, the topic is rather upsetting, as Monsta X is saying goodbye to a one-night stand, thanking them but saying they never want to see them again. A bittersweet way to end the album. I actually like this ending a lot, and the song is catchy, not to mention a rather new thing in K-pop.
I have been listening to a variety of K-pop groups, both girl groups and boy groups, since 2015, and risqué songs like this are a fairly recent phenomenon in the most popular groups in K-pop. It is likely a result of relaxed standards in Korea and the influence of Western pop culture on Korean music.
I am excited to see Monsta X grow and experiment more in the future, pushing and testing boundaries and not being afraid of what they want to sing about.