As they told Billboard’s K-Town in January, boy band INFINITE were planning a new album for early this year. Once members Hoya and Dongwoo’s hip-hop sub-unit group, INFINITE-H, ended promotions with “Special Girl” and “Without You,” it was now time for INFINITE to make their first comeback as a group since last spring.
Singles like “The Chaser” and “BTD (Before The Dawn)” portrayed a strong, ferocious image with never before seen dance moves and range-scaling vocals. With their latest single, “Man In Love,” INFINITE combine these same skills, but do so in a more subtle way, seemingly as a reminder to what has allowed this group to rise so high in the boy band rankings.
“Man In Love” is a softer style for INFINITE. Eighties-inspired synths, guitars and drum machines make up the track, but super producer Sweetune updates the sounds to be a hit for today. There is a euphoric and lifting feeling for the instrumentation and vocals to work in tandem with the theme of the song: the emotions of being in love. The solo lines are divided more equally compared to most groups who hoard more lines for stronger vocalists or more popular members.
The music video further reminds K-pop fans of INFINITE’s unique charms. Their impressive choreography is, of course, present, but INFINITE shows their special flair with a different take on a popular K-pop dance style. INFINITE takes the “panorama dance” (seen in the choreography to SHINee’s “Sherlock,” After School’s “Flashback” and f(x)’s “Jet”) and put their own spin on it with Woohyun breaking out of the panorama to sing his second solo.
A remarkable note of the video comes with the abundance of glamorous shots of the boys. There is over a minute devoted to the end of the video of handsome clips of the boys with the song replaying. The seven members are unique in the vain world of K-pop idols (leader Sunggyu has admitted insecurities about his looks and Dongwoo introduced himself to Billboard.com readers as “INFINITE’s sharp eyes”), so reminding K-pop fans what makes INFINITE unique visually was a nice touch.
A fantastic 2011 and early 2012 gave INFINITE the means to try solo and sub-unit ventures in late 2012 and early 2013. “Man In Love” is a welcome move from Woollim Entertainment to remind K-pop fans of the specific charms that make INFINITE one of the biggest groups today to move on to such ventures. Seeing the song come to life on music programs will also help this goal. One hopes with INFINITE’s next single that we see further growth from the group to solidify why they can compete with other top-tier male groups despite being from a smaller company.