While they are by far one of the strongest performance oriented groups working right now, I’ve had my qualms with The Boyz. They’ve got some really strong singles under their belt but February’s Reveal was one of the years more generic and uninspired comebacks. It was a track that perfectly showcased the importance of arrangement, considering that the Road To Kingdom improved it immensely and would have easily found a place within my top 50 of the year had it been released as a single. New single The Stealer is their first off their Road To Kingdom win and apart from the clunky centrepiece, is mostly a return to form.
At its best, The Stealer feels like it could have slotted perfectly into the discography’s of any modern SM entertainment boy group. The industrial instrumental coupled with a healthy dose of bass guitar are enough to add a more rhythmic punch to a track that suffers from a sense of disjointedness throughout its runtime. The chorus is probably the biggest proponent of this, feeling much more lumber and heavy than its surrounding. While the rest of The Stealer thrives from a sense of sly groove and addictive vocal play, the chorus feels like its just lurching forward. I don’t really know how to feel about it yet but it does work much better than I had initially expected. Much of that I would attribute to the intoxicating bassline that acts as a nice instrumental post chorus breakdown.
But apart from that lumbering hook, the rest of The Stealer is an absolute treat. As I said before, the entire thing feels alot like a homage to the SM boy groups of old. The pre chorus especially feels incredibly reminiscent of EXO’s Tempo, a track which is probably my favourite post 2016 EXO single. This automatically wins the track some points in my book. In fact, The Stealer actually suffers from the complete opposite issue that Reveal did. In this case, the verses are fantastic but the chorus just doesn’t manage carry the same charm. But here, I think the great parts are much more impactful than the tracks less successful elements and is easily the groups strongest single this year.
Final Rating: 8.5/10