Ciipher pulled one of the greatest debut to first comeback improvements in k-pop history with last years Blind. A song that harnessed a tight arrangement and killer drop to craft a standout effort in a year full of them. A far cry from the auto-tuned mess that was their debut I like you. As such, the groups first comeback could have gone either way. Fortunately, Fame continues down the road of its predecessor with a high octane dance track. Unfortunately, its execution is a bit like the groups discography. Inconsistent.
Let’s start with the good parts. Given a few tweaks, Fame could have been pretty damn good. Its chorus has great potential, pulsing with a great sense of lift that comes to a head during the great post chorus. The climax is exciting, bringing together all of the tracks previous elements for a knockout finale that injects some electric guitar and stabbing synths to create a soundscape that genuinely feels pretty thrilling. The boys also sound great, imbuing Fame with a nice sense of personality that goes a long way in selling the track. Sure it’s all a little UP10TION in execution but when it recalls past hits like Spin Off, I’m not complaining.
Now let’s get to the not so good things. The opening verse literally dissipates from memory after its over. The arrangement is just so bland and uninteresting, slowing the soundscape down to a few synth flourishes and trap beats that do nothing for me. It’s incredibly aimless in its intentions and though it sounds as though it’s been ripped right out of 2018, it takes some of the worst elements from that time. And that’s a shame because the other verses are actually quite solid. Fame‘s chorus is also one of the most disjointed hooks I’ve heard in a while. And that’s because for some reason, it just slows down in the middle. For absolutely no reason at all. Opening with a soaring melody that could have blossomed into something special, Fame instead pulls back with an instrumental that drags but a melody that attempts to continue the energy built up during the pre-chorus. It just kills the energy and results in a listening experience that is no where near as satisfying as it potentially could have been.
As such, I’m going to be pretty conservative in my score for this song. I can easily see it growing on me but I can also see it go the other way just as easily.
Final Rating: 7.75 / 10