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Buried Treasure: Monsta X – Burning Up (ft. R3HAB)

Monsta X - Burning UpA K-pop act title track is not always the best song on their album, though it’s the one most people want to hear. Sometimes b-pages also deserve recognition. In the single-minded world of K-pop, I want to focus on some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.

Monsta X’er Love has already grown on me (you can thank the saxophone for to), but my thoughts from the album’s highlight medley still stand: Burning up would have made a stronger title number.

It just seems like an obvious choice, from the cross-pollination of the featured producer R3HAB to the song’s conventionally catchy structure. This makes me think: is K-pop against conventionally catchy structures when it comes to title numbers? I know the industry would like to seem edgy and experimental, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is nothing wrong with a straightforward, satisfying piece of pop.

Burning up fulfills its task and delivers non-stop energy and sleek drive. Monsta X has been flirting with Western influence for ages now, but a song like this works much better than some of their more sentimental efforts. Dance music is huge right now, and K-pop artists could stand to harness its popularity more than they do now. It seems like a natural way to further explore global markets.

This song is basically critical acclaim. It does not try to do anything spectacular or different, but it is not a responsibility. We have heard its driving beat many times before and its melodies also feel familiar. However, every moment of Burning up comes with precision and polishing. You know exactly where it is going and you are happy when it gets there. In pop music, there is a time to be daring and unexpected. But there is also a time to surrender to the magic of a knockout beat. Burning up rides his groove with the best of them.

Hooks 8
Production 9
Long life 9
Bias 9

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