Less than a month after wrapping up their “Delight” tour in the USA, SF9 returns to the stage with their new mini-album “The PIECE OF9”. Bringing back the suits and sheer charisma, the boy group proves once again why they’re famous for their class. 

While SF9 has long been praised for having a strong, impenetrable lineup of members that stick together as nine, unchangeable circumstances have meant that not all members could partake in recent comebacks. But even when members Youngbin and Inseong are out of the mini-album while on military service, it does not suffer, nor does it stray from sounding like an SF9 album. Fans were also certainly overjoyed to see singer Rowoon make a return to the group’s activities on this release. 

Image © FNC Entertainment

SF9 are uncovering secrets in the catchy pop-funk title track “Puzzle”. Produced by their very own member Zuho, the song is the crème de la crème of SF9 sound; it’s stylish, it’s simple, and they do it best. Donning secret agent uniforms in the official music video, “Puzzle” seemingly narrates discovering the truth of an unloyal lover. 

Zuho and Hwiyoung worked on the lyrics of the song, and have been praised for the track’s near-perfectly equal line distribution. In fact, by the first chorus, each of the seven members had already sung, rapped, or ad-libbed a part. Zuho, as well as singer Jaeyoon and rappers Hwiyoung and Chani, also had writing contributions to various tracks on the mini-album. There was not a single track that at least one member didn’t contribute to the writing or producing of. 

Image © FNC Entertainment

The first B-side “Love Colour” is a flirty, feel-good R&B track with clean production. The elements of the track overlap and flow together much like running water, which goes rather fitting with the title and metaphoric lyrics about ‘falling into the ocean’ and ‘painting each other’s hearts’. The song styles a mood which is contented and hazy, as if one is drunk on love, and is the epitome of SF9’s coquettish discography. 

“New World” switches up the tone as an epic power anthem, with a deep guitar roaring in the chorus and lyrics such as ‘Tear it up ‘cause we’re dreaming of the future / Don’t stop, got that fire running through us’. The track leaves listeners feeling uplifted, and would suit being the OST of an action or drama film. “Fighter” feels like a sequel to “New World”, as it is similar in meaning, but tones down the gloriousness of the latter in exchange for a more grunge, beat-heavy sound. “Fighter” in particular gives rappers and youngest members Hwiyoung and Chani a bit more free rein compared to other tracks, allowing them to showcase their area of expertise.

Image © FNC Entertainment

“Tight” is an upbeat, dance track that feels rather reminiscent of SF9’s well-loved song “Play Hard”, with a similar speed and EDM themes. Returning to the flirtatious tones of the earlier songs of the mini-album, the song is composed of repetitive lyrics telling the listener to ‘Hold [them]  tight’. 

The oldest member of the current lineup, Jaeyoon, in the concluding track “Stay with me”, bids an emotional farewell to fans as he approaches the time to begin his mandatory military service in South Korea. Written and sung by himself, Jaeyoon pours out his heart in the slow ballad, urging the listener that ‘No matter how much time has passed, we’ll be together forever’. It’s a love song, as well as an ode to fans that concludes the release in a bittersweet way.

Following the formula of what makes a good SF9 album, “The Piece Of9” possesses a decent balance between flirtatious, powerful, and moving. Of course, no song can be all three at once, but when put together in a 6-track mini-album like this, it serves as a reminder of all the different ways the group can present themselves. SF9 are a boy group that can hype up a stage with a high-speed dance anthem, entrance listeners in romantic R&B tracks, and stir souls with sweet vocals. 

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Written by Maddie Armstrong

View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, and art, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop / K-music, and Asian music in general, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, music, and arts, worldwide.

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Album Reviews, General, K-pop, Music

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