Korean pop group SuperM, which formed in 2019, released their debut album on Oct. 4, titled “The 1st Mini Album.” The SM Entertainment and Capital Music Group signed band is composed of members of three different previous KPop groups that also produced chart topping albums and singles. The members of the group are Taemin from Shinee; Baekhyun and Kai from Exo; and Taeyong, Mark, Ten and Lucas from NCT, making a total of seven members.
“The 1st Mini Album,” aptly named since it’s made up of only seven songs, quickly made its way to United States airways, showing that KPop is enjoyed internationally. Although there are seven songs listed on the track, two of those songs are instrumental versions of others from the album.
Even though this album is short, it packs a punch that was not expected for a debut album. One of the most critical aspects of an impressive album is a strong introductory song, which should provide the listener with a theme of what the rest of the album will be like. SuperM does this effectively by starting off with the hardest song on the album, “Jopping.”
Right away, the song opens up with a crowd roaring and intense electronic beats that include nice basslines, repeating hi-hats and orchestral strings in the background that can faintly be heard accompanying other sounds. This quickly changes as an electric guitar replaces these beats with some riffs, that then lead into a hard bassline that goes well with Lucas’s rapping.
Surprisingly enough, each member of the band actually performs their own part in the song along with the chorus. This unique style choice for the first song gives ample time for each band member to show off their individual vocal styles, which also include rapping. Combining all of these elements into one song provides for a catchy and vibrant piece with lots of variation.
The second song on the album comes at the listener with similar intensity as “Jopping,” but it’s immediately easy to see initial differences the band chose to make with instrumentation. The song, titled “I can’t stand the rain,” starts off with drums and yelling that mimic traditional Korean drum dancing. This still provides the intense bassline presented in the intro but through actual instruments and not by electronic creation.
The variation of vocals is also present in this song, but with more Korean than English lyrics. This is done through normal singing and overlaid rapping that mixes well with the intense drum beats. When the song starts the chorus, the singing of Baekhyun is accompanied by a change in instrumentation as electronic beats are added and the drums are replaced.
The big build-up in the song comes in the breakdown, which was a surprise compared to the initial parts of the song. Baekhyun leads into it like a normal chorus, but the heavy drums that started the song come back in and both the instruments and the vocals pack a powerful punch.
“Super Car,” the fourth song on the album, keeps the theme of hard electronic basslines but adds a different element not heard in previous songs on the album. Since the band has seven members with different vocal styles, a great deal of variation would be expected in all the songs so that the different styles could be heard. This is not the case for “Super Car.”
The members of SuperM are also talented rappers. They effectively demonstrate their rapping skills in “Super Car.” While the chorus of the song involves standard singing, the group joins together at times for rapping verses, which flow almost seamlessly with the intense EDM -style beats that the song puts out.
While most of the album is comprised of fast-paced songs, one stands out from the others: The fifth song, “No Manners,” takes a completely different approach by starting off with some muted beats leading into the band all in unison singing the chorus of the song. This is then followed by clean vocals and soft beats. The song continues this theme throughout the piece, all the way into the rapping breakdown. Even this rapping, however, is not as intense as in the other songs.
As a debut album, SuperM pulled all the stops to create songs that were not only catchy but innovative. The band did not follow some of the stereotypical songwriting techniques that KPop songs are known for. The members allowed themselves to break free from the mold and produce intense and heavy tracks that grab listeners attention.
Overall, this album gives hope for what is to come from this new super band. Even though this album was self-titled as “mini,” it leaves listeners waiting for what the band will create in a full-length album.