Welcome to another Rapid Review! Continuing into our dive into third-generation K-pop, we’re digging into VIXX‘s “Jekyll.” VIXX is a group close to my heart. They’re one of the few artists who just ooze theatricality and epicness from concept to comeback stages. Still, it’s important to look back on an artist’s beginning to better appreciate their journey.
This is a stranger Rapid Review for me because VIXX was a pretty established group by Hyde’s release. They started off on MyDOL, a K-pop survival show. Afterwards they made cameos in music videos.
Additionally, they released numerous singles and even performed at KCON in 2012. It wasn’t until nearly a year after VIXX’s debut that they released “Hyde,” their first mini-album. Today, I chose to focus on the repackage rather than the original EP. “Jekyll” has three new tracks, which gave the group more room to shine.
While VIXX is more known for their grittier and theatrical comebacks, they have a lot of fluff pop songs. “G.R.8.U” is one such song. I’m not a fan of it. The group sounds more restrained. It’s not until “Say Love” when they really lean into the bubblegum pop that they sound like VIXX to me. It’s just so sunshine and happy, I can’t hate it.
From there, they jump immediately into darker tracks “Light Me Up” and “Hyde.” I initially thought the transition was jarring until I remembered the album’s title: “Jekyll.” As the concept is named after the famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it made sense for the album to sound more disjointed.
Unfortunately, I think the album is a bit lopsided or just doesn’t commit to the Hyde side of it. Granted, I’m picky about my bubblegum pop, so I might be judging it harshly.
Still, it’s nice to see how successful their short walk on the dark side went. The group easily bounces between different genres, which is why it’s hard to really pin down the VIXX sound beyond “Epic synth pop.” Even then, they do great stripped-down ballads.
I originally scored “Jekyll” lower, but not liking something doesn’t negate the craftsmanship of it.
Jekyll, Love Letter.
Hyde, Light Me Up, Chaos.
While a strong beginning that isn’t afraid to try different things, the disjointed sound just wasn’t not my cup of tea.