K-Pop Group Infinite Weaves EDM Sounds Into 'Infinite Only' EP

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Infinite arrive for the 24th Seoul Music Awards at the Olympic Park on Jan. 22, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. 

Like a refreshing September storm, INFINITE descended on the K-pop world with their sixth EP on Monday (Sept. 19). Released more than a year after 2015’s Reality, INFINITE Only features seven songs including lead single “The Eye,” or “Typhoon” as it’s known in Korean. The title track features the group's ever-evolving retrosynth style and their signature dance flair while the music video is a throwback to INFINITE’s earlier days.

Over the years, the group has carved a place out for itself as an innovative dance pop act, blending old-school electronic sounds with classically inspired elements. “The Eye” keeps INFINITE’s typical orchestral accompaniment with a particular focus on the haunting strings, melodic piano, and pounding beat, but then delves deeper into sounds the group has previously explored but never with such fervor. Most prominent is the EDM chorus and the disjointed vocal samplings, both of which producer BEE began weaving into the group’s more recent songs, most notably last year’s “Bad.” “The Eye” is also distinct from INFINTE’s prior singles for its lack of rap, forgoing the K-pop norm in favor of a show of INFINITE’s vocal prowess. Lead vocalists Sungkyu and Woohyun bear the brunt of the verses, but rappers Hoya and Dongwoo deliver sleek lines just as well, if not better, than the group's three sweet-toned sub vocalists (and subunit), L, Sungjong, and Sungyeol.

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Though the lyrics of “The Eye” are about regretting the end of a relationship, the accompanying video recalls earlier INFINITE music videos while depicting the seven men in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. L takes the lead role in the video, a nod to his burgeoning acting career in Korea, while the cinematography touches on the group's past: Sungjong's blonde hair and the fighting scenes were similar in 2011’s “Before The Dawn (BTD),” the car scenes are reminiscent of 2012’s “The Chaser,” and the video ends with a focus on a photo that recalls the group's more youthful image from their rookie days, although diligent fans revealed on Twitter that the photo is from a magazine photo shoot last year.

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Along with the plot, the video for “The Eye” is filled with INFINTE’s pristine synchronization and is one of the group’s most compelling performances in some time. While not as acrobatic as their famous scorpion dance from “BTD,” the choreography from “The Eye” is entrancing in its own right thanks to the sheer power of the members’ movements. More interpretive than many of their more recent dances, the frenetic moves have the seven men popping and moving in sync with the song’s thumping beat.

Aside from “The Eye” and an intro track, INFINITE Only features five other songs. Rock ballad “One Day” is notable for being co-written by Hoya and featuring lyrics written by Dongwoo, who returned to promote the album alongside the rest of the group after losing his father earlier this month.

Since its release, INFINITE Only became the no. 1 album on the iTunes K-pop chart and the music video for “The Eye” was viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube within 24 hours of its release.