For a band like SuperM, calling themselves the Avengers of K-Pop is perfect. They’re quite literally a super group, bringing members from other acts (Shinee, Exo, NCT 127 and WayV to be specific) and having them come together and destroy the charts. If the Avengers were a K-Pop group, these guys would be them. Their visuals and songs complement the analogy as well, with often futuristic visual vibes and mainstream sounding productions.
With their debut album, Super One – The 1st Album, SuperM aim high and manage to deliver as expected. From the first song – ‘One (Monster & Infinity)’, the band sets the tone for an enjoyable album that fans will eagerly have on repeat.
The opening track is a mashup of the two songs that follow it, but it’s easy to forgive having basically the same song three times on the album because of just how wonderful the resulting mashup is. ‘One’ is clearly the best of the three, but it was nice of SuperM to have ‘Infinity’ and ‘Monster’ on the album as well, making for an almost ‘Extended Edition’ feeling — kind of like something you’d expect to see on an Avengers extras section? Granted, ‘Infinity’ and ‘Monster’ do rehash much of ‘One’ before them, and the album does feel a bit slow to start because the first twelve minutes are all basically the same song. ‘One’ is the track you’re going to listen to the most, and having to skip two tracks to get to something entirely new isn’t all that much of a hassle.
Releasing an album in 2020 is a daunting task in and of itself, with COVID changing life and the entertainment industry drastically, and this is something SuperM is aware of, with songs like ‘Wish You Were Here,’ ‘Better Days’ and ‘Together at Home’ offering solace to fans who would rather be at a concert. While it’s unlikely SuperM will be performing around the world anytime in the near future and they’ll probably have new songs to sing when they do, these tracks offer a nice gesture to fans and also serve to cement the album’s place in time. These songs are of the moment and real. That’s something that matters; having raw music that documents the way people are feeling, especially in these uncertain and crazy times, elevates this album. It goes beyond just another pop music or K-Pop album tossed out to generate some income while artists can’t go on tour.
Songs like ‘Drip’ and ‘Line ’em Up’ allow the band’s more rap-influenced members the chance to shine. With seven members (which seems like a small number in comparison to other K-Pop acts!), it can be hard for each member to get their rightful share, but SuperM carefully collaborates on each track. No matter who your bias is, everyone gets a time to shine; each song on Super One feels fluid and well thought out, and each member feels like they’re carrying their weight. Taemin, Ten, Baekhyun and Kai always brings their effervescent vocals, distinct in their delivery rather than chucked together on a chorus like other acts tend to do. Mark, Lucas, and Taeyong lead up with catchy raps and verses, injecting their own flavor into every word, be it in English or Korean.
Songs like ‘100’ do a good job to capture the band’s energy and members. The band is explosive and commanding, maintaining their K-Pop signature while still appealing to a global fanbase.
While the hard-driven dance-inducing tracks give SuperM a chance to shine with their insane choreography and visuals, Super One also offers more stripped-back tracks that allow the idols to showcase their talents in other areas. ‘With You’ in particular is a beautifully romantic song about love. It’s energy isn’t dialed up to 100 (like the song of the same name) but it demands the same amount of attention with its catchy lyrics guaranteed to make your heart flutter.
Super One blends together fast paced tracks and slower jams with ease, and considering this is the band’s first full album, it stands as a testament to the talents they’ve no doubt picked up from working in their original groups. The Avengers of K-Pop have assembled, and here’s hoping their musical run is as long as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.