At their debut New York concert in March, Teen Top told Billboard, “now that we’re getting older and more mature, we hope to show a very sexy and manly image in the near future.” For the band’s first single in more than a year, “Missing,” the sextet inch closer to their ideal image with a subtle, smooth new song and video.
Sonically, “Missing” is a slow-groove R&B track that is remarkable for its subtlety. There are a lot of impressive vocal runs, but they are baked into the choruses instead of highlighted on the middle eight or final chorus. There are rap breaks, but they make up half of each verse instead of both being in a designated section on the bridge or in the intro. Teen Top’s last release “Rocking” was also atypically structured, but was an over-the-top club banger. “Missing” shows the guys can craft a unique track without packing in loads of flashy production elements.
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The lyrics also offer a unique take on the usual relationships one hears in K-pop tracks. The guys sing about knowing a relationship is bad from the beginning, for both parties, but regardless of the pain so far they’re still missing their girl. While breakup tracks are nothing new in the scene, listeners usually don’t hear K-pop idols admitting to toxic love.
Sticking with the adult theme — and accompanying the lyrics nicely — the video shows Teen Top in a darker light. There are scenes of leader Cap, the eldest member, where he looks to be getting drunk with a girl, in the midst of a shirtless make out session and graffiting a wall. Later in the clip, L.Joe is seen trying to bathe a girl in a soaked, white shirt. All these elements are rather mature in and of themselves, but are all placed into a context of a twisted relationship that adds a complexity to the scandalous scenes rather than pure salaciousness.
While not every member gets in on the adult story line, it does seem to indicate that Teen Top (who now only boast two members that are still teenagers) have certainly matured and their visuals and music are slowly but surely portraying that as well.
“Missing” is the lead single from Teen Top’s new EP Exito, a six-track set dropped today. Listen to a highlight medley of the new songs below.