ATEEZ are back after only seven months with their fifth EP, ZERO: FEVER Part.1.
This 6 track EP (7 if you include the introduction) sees the boys stepping away from their pirate concept, which has been with them since debut, and into a new journey. While by no means a huge leap away from previously explored sounds, it still feels new and shows the power of this group.
Dear Diary: 2016.07.29
The first song on the EP is not really a song at all but an introduction story. It is a beautiful piece of storytelling narrated by a soft-spoken voice. It is an introduction to this new era and the characters that ATEEZ will be embodying in this world.
The first song of the EP is bright and dreamlike with a sense of sentimentality. After the whimsy introduction piece, the transition to ‘Fever’ fits beautifully with its lyrics and sound. The song is smooth from start to finish with the highlight being Jongho’s vocals over the bridge. A bright, whimsical start to the EP.
‘Thanxx’ is one of the two title tracks featured on this EP (with ‘Inception’ being chosen over ‘Thanxx’ as the official title track through a fan and artist voting process). Personally, this is my favourite of the two songs. It’s full of energy, life and the unique ATEEZ flare. Right off the bat it pulls you in with a plucked guitar and groovy instrumental. I can’t not mention the rap sections as I think they are one of the highlights with their playful, sassy tone. Also, worth noting, the outfits and choreography for this song is just so good.
To the Beat
Matching the energy of ‘Thanxx’ with a bit more of a hip hop feel, ‘To the Beat’ starts with what I want to call a whisper rap. It sets itself apart from ATEEZ’s usual repertoire whilst still feeling like them. The rappers, Mingi and Hongjoong stand out the most here (given that it’s a rap heavy track) but the vocals delivered by other members do not disappoint. This is one to dance to for sure.
The official title track, ‘Inception’ brings more of a classic KPOP angsty feeling with ATEEZ’s touch. The track really highlights their strengths and explores a sound they haven’t tried before. Whilst not my pick for title track, I think it makes perfect sense going forward. It would appeal to a wider audience and shows a side not seen before. The vocals and raps are both incredible and their performances (as always) deliver.
Good Lil Boy
Like ‘To the Beat’, this track feels like a new sound for ATEEZ. It has that hip-hop bouncy groove making it great for a live performance. The song builds to an explosive chorus followed by a shift in sound signified by Mingi’s rap. This works very well in maintaining the energy of the song. Before the final chorus we have another change with an acoustic build up into the chorus letting the final chorus hit even harder.
One Day at a Time
A soft, synth-based track which serves as a beautiful conclusion to the EP. On my first listen I didn’t even realise it was fully in English until the 40 second mark and then I was just in shock. They really hit us with a completely English song with no prior notice (I feel like usually English songs are promoted so much and/or it’s stated in the title ‘Blank (English)’). A running theme for ATEEZ is including a song dedicated to their fans making the English lyrics even more meaningful for international fans. The lyrics encourage us to take it ‘One day at a time’ with words of encouragement through the entire track. You can feel this one in your heart.
ZERO: FEVER PART 1 is a great start into a new era for ATEEZ. It’s experimental enough to show a new side without completely disregarding what fans have grown to love about the group. If you were not a fan of ATEEZ’s earlier work, I don’t think this EP will change your mind as their signature style and energy is maintained here. Although, if you’re not a fan by now, in my eyes, you’re definitely missing out.