It’s remarkable to think that this time last year, ENHYPEN had not even released their first record yet. Formed from survival show I-LAND, in the past year the group had since gone on to sell over 800k (HANTEO) across their first two EPs BORDER : DAY ONE, BORDER : CARNIVAL, with newest LP DIMENSION : DILEMMA sure to push them over the million-seller mark with 926, 000 preorders for the album clocked in already.
DIMENSION : DILEMMA is the group’s first-ever full-length album, running at a speedy 22 minutes, with ‘Tamed-Dashed’ as the record’s title track. As another pop-rock track much in the vein of the group’s previous title track ‘Drunk-Dazed’, the song’s heavy rock influences help it to stand out as one of the more unique title tracks to come out this half of 2021.
Scorching sun show me the way
My compass please don’t leave me now
Summer (NA NA NA)
Just dash (NA NA NA)
With such an earworm of a chorus the song is a stadium-ready summer anthem, the music video even sets the song up as the perfect post-summer bop, and the song would have fit many summer rave playlists well if it had been dropped just a few months earlier. Across all three of ENHYPEN’s title tracks is now a sense of sonic consistency as all feature a heavy bass, choruses that go hard and strong vocals.
Third track ‘Upper Side Dreamin’ sounds a little like fan-favorite tracks ‘FEVER’ and ‘Let Me In (20 CUBE)’ had a baby, and what a beautiful baby it is. With a slick urban groove and hints of city-pop, the song surely joins the most elite of the group’s B-sides. Some of their best B-sides give the group the chance to showcase their vocals whilst also leaning into the more sultry side of the group’s soundscape, and ‘Upper Side Dreamin’ is no exception.
Fans waiting for a hype song from the group will not be disappointed with ‘Go Big or Go Home’ which, just as its title suggests, is an out-and-out club banger that will sonically resonate with Europop fans for whom this track would easily make a Friday night club playlist. Meanwhile, in ‘Blockbuster (feat. YEONJUN)’, the TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s member join his label-mates for a hardcore electro-rock song about living life to the max:
The hardships yeah but I’m just having fun here
My heart beats bump, bump, if I еver die, I’ll be back, thumbs up
Throw mе into this world now jump off
‘Attention, please!’ rounds off this album in the pop-rock vein with what is probably the most overtly pop-rock song on the entire record, and helps to ensure the album is grounded in a much gritter sound than in the group’s previous records despite gentler R&B ballad ‘Just a Little Bit’ having its sweet moment on the album’s tracklist.
Special mention must be given to ‘Interlude : Question’ which is technically the final track on the album, though it is not a full song and features member Jake’s narration as opposed to any vocals. All of ENHYPEN’s intros, outros and interludes are lowkey MVPs on their records as they give atmosphere to every album and gives space for the work of ENHYPEN’s most regular producers (in the case, of ‘Interlude : Question’, Puff, Wonderkid and 신쿵) to shine. ‘Intro : Walk the Line’ from BORDER : Day One remains one of the ENHYPEN’s most sonically beautiful offerings, and ‘Interlude : Question’ sits at the same table as another track you’d also love to hear much, much more of.
All these tracks pull together to form ENHYPEN’s most cohesive record of their career: you can imagine blaring any of these tracks through your stereo during a nighttime drive through the city — though which song you pick might depend on what your mood is.
At its core, DIMENSION : DILEMMA is the perfect way to round off ENHYPEN’s first year in the K-pop landscape. Across their three releases it feels like ENHYPEN have got to grips with their predominantly electro-rock infused pop sound, and their latest record showcases their soundscape in its entirety. It’s a record that will undoubtedly please current fans, whilst also proving to be a solid entry point for listeners intrigued by the mega-rookie group.
A K-pop group’s first year (or at least, first three or so records) should, with luck, fully establish who they are in an already crowded landscape, provide enough interest as to where their sound might go next and hopefully also give them a banger or two to their name. In less than a year, ENHYPEN has managed to check all these things off their list with aplomb.
There can be no doubt now that ENHYPEN have truly arrived: one can only begin to imagine what heights they might scale next.