In their previous album The Calm Before The Storm, Tempest’s desires to become notable artists in a saturated industry were likened to that of a fierce rainstorm. While the intense rainfall remained strong, the group rushed forward without hesitation and pressed on despite the concerns and worries that surrounded them.
The members continue deeper into the storm in Into The TEMPEST and though their talents remain apparent, they seem to have lost some of their footing amongst the vicious waves. After “Dragon” attempted to drown the boys’ bright potential last year, its partner in crime “Vroom Vroom” appears intent on submerging them once again.
Frankly speaking, Tempest’s title track “Vroom Vroom” is disappointingly generic. The vibrance that made their previous numbers so enjoyable is completely absent here, and this edgy sound does very little to showcase the members’ vocal and rap skills.
Crafting an intriguing music video for such an unimaginative song is understandably difficult, and the video for “Vroom Vroom” doesn’t contain any storyline or a sense of depth to engross viewers. It’s a performance-based music video with plenty of stereotypical items to express motor vehicle imagery. Car? Check. Motorcycle? Check. Tires? Check.
These pieces aren’t anything we haven’t seen before but given its accompanying tune, the video is entertaining for what it is. All of the sets look quite polished and most of them make one instantly think of engines and garages. And while some sets are a bit dull, they work with other elements such as flashy lighting and the boys’ colorful race car driver suits, to make things visually compelling.
Above all else, though, is the dizzying but engaging camerawork. With the camera tilting upwards as the members’ raise their arms, zooming out every time they honk invisible car horns, rotating to match their steering wheel motions, and swerving right once the boys kick the legs to the side, each detail in the choreography seems to have been taken into account. The witty and energetic camera movements are brief but help make the music video fun to watch. It’s just regrettable that the cool and impressive moments the video has aren’t enough to improve the enjoyment of the song.
Musically, “Vroom Vroom” is pretty tiring to get through. The instrumental stays bland for the majority of the track and only becomes slightly more interesting during the dance break. But even then, the instrumental is filled with many rough and discordant sounds that are quite displeasing to listen to.
Tempest have great rappers and vocalists, but they’re extremely underutilized with this flat and monotonous melody. The pre-choruses, along with the bridge, are stunning but are cut short for a lifeless and irritatingly repetitive chorus. And similar to “Dragon,” the chorus is the main feature of the tune. Even though other sections are more enjoyable, they sadly can’t salvage this hip-hop dance number.
Both “Dragon” and “Vroom Vroom” fall to the bottom of the group’s discography, and it’s challenging to choose which is less off-putting. While “Vroom Vroom” manages to avoid having a loud, shouty chorus that “Dragon” fell victim to, it’s also devoid of any personality. At least in “Dragon,” the boys’ charisma and performance skills were obvious. But in “Vroom Vroom,” the members’ talents feel incredibly misused and overlooked.
Tempest is still a fairly new group, and underwhelming releases could simply be attributed to inexperience and lack of a distinctive sound. But what makes their case especially frustrating is that the group already has a recognizable musical color. They’ve shown off their youthful charms time and time again through “Bad News,” “Can’t Stop Shining,” “Dangerous,” and several of their B-sides. The boys’ strengths lean so clearly toward playful and refreshing concepts, it’s baffling as to why Yuehua Entertainment wouldn’t aim for a consistent image and discography.
On a more positive note, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Into The TEMPEST because like On and On, the two B-sides on this record don’t resemble the title track at all. The first one “DIVE” is the real highlight of this album and would’ve been wonderful as the lead single.
“Taste The Feeling” was a pleasant pop song to placate those who didn’t enjoy “Dragon,” and “DIVE” plays a similar role here. However, it doesn’t just placate disappointed listeners, it completely blows “Vroom Vroom” out of the water. From the fresh instrumental and beautiful melody to the light atmosphere and unique timbres of the members, everything is lovely.
Lyrically, the members compare their loved one to the ocean. Even if they’re alone and without purpose, Tempest will still dive into the deep blue ocean and stay by that person’s side:
Oh, to dazzling you, DIVE
Even if I’m out of breath
Draw a beautiful curve, DIVE
Upon the calm water
I’ll make a wave, I’ll make a wave
You are my deep blue ocean, you are my universe
This EDM-influenced tune feels tailor-made for the summer season with the verses and pre-chorus being relaxing like a small stream while the chorus is a colorful splash into the sea. The topline is captivatingly smooth, and the “DIVE” lines in the chorus that convey the feeling of plunging into the water are really nice. Hyuk’s part in the last chorus when the backing track is silent is especially satisfying.
Continuing this sweet vibe is the final song on the record “Bluetooth.” This ballad-like number carries a lovable message of being able to connect to their loved one wherever they are:
Even from afar, feel you
If you feel the same way, with you
I can reach you, I, I, I’m
Cuz I’m only your Bluetooth
It’s connected any time to you
Everywhere you go, we’re always together
I just hope you know, I’ll be there
As a fan-dedicated song, “Bluetooth” is warm and heartfelt. The relatively minimalist backing track with a guitar as the leading instrument allows the spotlight to shine on the group’s pretty vocals. It’s a very gentle and comforting way to close out the album.
Altogether, Into The TEMPEST is a mixed bag. The representative track of the record “Vroom Vroom” fails to impress, but the two B-sides are utterly delightful. It really makes you wonder what direction Tempest will take in the future.
A song like “DIVE” feels perfect for Tempest while “Vroom Vroom” feels like a total mismatch. With the group not appearing to have a solid middle ground that could combine such drastically different sounds, their musical identity looks blurry. But then again, the group is still young and have only just entered the raging storm in their story thus far. Perhaps when they reach the eye of the storm, where the weather is calmer, Tempest could return with a compatible single that’s more aligned with their bright charms.
(YouTube. Lyrics via YouTube, Genius. Images via Yuehua Entertainment.)