I’ve followed and been a fan of VICTON since their bright debut. They haven’t had the easiest of times navigating the crowded K-pop field. But they’ve nonetheless released some excellent music over the years since their debut. And they’re finally releasing their first full album, “VOICE: The Future is Now.”
The group enjoyed a NU’EST-style boost (though not at the same level) from members Seungwoo and Byungchan’s appearance on Produce 101. They celebrated their first, long-deserved win for their excellent “Nostalgic Night” in 2019. And their first win as a full group came with “Howling” last year. I loved their evolved sound, but they shifted a bit with their last release “Mayday” last June. They seem to have decided on leaning fully into this new direction and it results in their latest title track “What I Said.”
My initial reaction after first listening to the track and watching the music video was:
— LJ D. Banatao (@lesterjeff) January 11, 2021
Indeed, VICTON very well snapped in the most unexpected way. At least to me. My favorite VICTON title tracks are “Remember Me,” “Time of Sorrow,” “Nostalgic Night” and “Howling.” So you can get a sense of the kind of style I might prefer.
So “What I Said” is definitely different. But I do enjoy it much more than “Mayday.” And after a few more listens and the release of the Performance Version of the MV, I think I kinda love it now:
It’s the kind of rousing, powerful track you can’t help but vibe with. Do Hanse definitely takes the spotlight in this track in a way he hasn’t yet in any other title track. And his rap definitely helps confidently set the tone. But watching more and more performances of the track, VICTON absolutely owns the stage while performing the song. And it is that strong confidence that I don’t think VICTON has had the chance to show yet. So that is a big plus for this track.
As much as I enjoy “What I Said,” the album itself (VICTON’s first full album) is filled with even stronger tracks. A few title worthy even.
I first have to admit that my VICTON bias is Heo Chan. But even more than just my bias in the group, I feel a great camaraderie with him ever since I found out he was a big fan of Lee Gikwang:
Though I must also point out Heo Chan was my bias before I found that out. So this was just another reason for me to solidify my choice.
Going into my first listen of the album, I didn’t know which tracks were the solo tracks from Seungsik, Chan, Sejun or Hanse. And after that first listen, I decided on “Eyes On You” as my favorite track. Little did I know that it was indeed Heo Chan’s solo track.
So I listened to #VICTON's album (so good, by the way) and picked a favorite track not knowing which ones were the solos. Turns out that track ("Eyes on You") was Heo Chan's. The connection with my bias/fellow Gikwang fanboy brother is strong 😊 pic.twitter.com/LKFX7Eg76d
— LJ D. Banatao (@lesterjeff) January 12, 2021
(The connection is strong! ☺️)
But aside from “Eyes On You,” the 13-track album is filled with excellent songs. Even a few that are likely going to become some of my favorites from VICTON.
“Circle” is a particularly excellent track. It’s different from “What I Said” and perhaps after “Eyes On You,” is my favorite from the album. It’s a sound and style I would love to hear more of from the group.
“Chess” and “Unpredictable” get a little more fun and funky and the R&B ballad “All Day” is a great emotional vibe. Solo tracks from Seungsik (“Carry On”), Sejun (“Utopia”) and Do Hanse (“Where is Love?”) are excellent showcases for their personal sound and style.
The other tracks that may not be at the top of my list are nonetheless solid B-side tracks on their own. “Into the Mirror,” “Up To You,” “Flip a Coin” and “We Stay” are a diverse mix of genres that give the album a full array of color.
Overall, it is an exciting and happy time to see VICTON finally releasing a full album. A great showcase for their talent and versatility as well as a maturing style and sound, the future is definitely bright for them.