Despite debuting in 2010, it wasn’t until 2012 that TEEN TOP hit their stride as a major K-pop force. The six-member boy band struck gold with a trio of Top 10 singles last year—“Going Crazy,” “To You” and “Be Ma Girl." Each crafted by super-producer Brave Brother and sectioned them as high-energy, club-ready, party boys. The formula worked and TEEN TOP finally found success atop the charts and on music programs.
For 2013, the group opted for change. Buzz single “I Wanna Love” explored new ground with its sound, lyrics and video. TEEN TOP eased us into a sonic shift with a tune that was still for the clubs, but incorporated unique elements to stand out from any run of the mill bangers. With musical breaks in the verses and an emphasis on harmonies, the slightly melancholic, yet still danceable, track sent promising vibes. Even the lyrics of the song suggested TEEN TOP was ready for a change with the repetitive chorus line, “It’s time to move on, here we go TEEN TOP.” The group changed things up for the music video too, opting to film outdoors with no choreography rather than their usual set designs with intense choreography.
Fans embraced the the simmered energy with the pre-release single debuting at No. 18 on the K-Pop Hot 100 indicating big things for the lead single.
For their official single “Miss Right,” TEEN TOP plays things safer while still showing evolution. On yet another Brave Brothers production, the song is a high-energy dance track but incorporates funky disco elements, a walking piano line and a fun earworm of a hook. Not a complete departure to set TEEN TOP apart from the many male groups promoting at this time, but also not at all a complete miss. The music video once again sees the boys back to dancing on a music video set, but this time with a jailbait theme. The video’s highlight is a sight too often missed in K-pop where the boys look to be having genuine fun—especially towards the end’s pillow fight.
The video has “only” amassed 373,000 views at press time, after three days of release, which is surprising given their popularity. Yet, it should be noted TEEN TOP’s “Miss Right” was not carried by a major distributor like LOEN Entertainment making it harder for fans to find an official version.
With "No. 1," TEEN TOP's first full-length album, the rising boy band create mostly enjoyable tracks that should satisfy all types of K-pop fans. Those who are nostalgic for the straight-up club sounds of their past hits should check out “So Sweet.” The anthem-sized dance-pop track puts a spotlight on the boys' falsettos in the hook and is reminiscent to Avicii’s global smash, “Levels.” It would not be surprising to hear that the group considered choosing it as their comeback track in place of “Miss Right.” While it may have been a hit, it may have been a bit too similar to their past hits and risk TEEN TOP cornering themselves as one-trick ponies. “No. 1” and its singles wisely show there is more to be seen with TEEN TOP and we may be just on the cusp of some K-pop brilliance.