Infinite – “Tell Me” Review

(Music Video)

Infinite – Tell Me

Reviewed on January 16, 2018

Specifically for what amazes me, it is not just—as many fans are currently praising—the vocals or even how the song itself is structured. What grabs my attention is how the composers purposefully crafted “Tell Me” so that its flow is that of short, choppy bits. Whether vocally or instrumentally, by slicing up the song in brief pauses, this gives the song an impactful effect: “Tell Me” is now able to adopt two contrasting positions. One position is that the song is able to give off a calmer, smooth flow but equally, the song is also able to possess an exciting, energetic and powerful style—all simultaneously as well.

Personal Message:
I am still working on the review for
SF9—a review that is now far beyond overdue. But, I wish to put out other
reviews for songs that have been released very recently. Furthermore, with these
upcoming reviews, they should be very brief and thus, this allows me to
experiment a bit more with my writing style before addressing a requested
review. And, with all that said, I am indeed back to university but I will definitely
have time for reviews—more so if this new, concise style works. In short, the
plan is for reviews to focus mostly around one core feature of the song at
hand. Preferably, it would be a defining feature so that reviews focus less on
a robotic analysis of songs and instead richer discussions come out. And, in
the end, reviews will hopefully become incredibly brief and far more realistic
to both read and write.

Focusing now on Infinite, I was
definitely looking out for their current comeback. Especially with Hoya’s
departure from the group, I wondered—in addition to whether if Infinite would
disband or not—if that would have led to the group adopting a new musical
style. While the review will partially address this, I will argue that,
ultimately, Infinite’s musical style has remained the same—though for “Tell
Me,” it is a bit more nuanced. But overall, especially if we draw upon
Infinite’s prior hits such as “Last Romeo” and especially “The Chaser,” the
group still maintains its rigorous, intense and upbeat style. (And, as I
perhaps have said multiple times in the past, “The Chaser” truly is one of the
most defining moments in K-Pop. It is fantastically composed by the composing
duo of Sweetune, and I predict that “The Chaser” will remain as not only
Infinite’s peak song, but also one of the best hits in K-Pop history.)

Turning our attention now towards
“Tell Me” and the review itself, I will admit I initially did not find myself
attracted to it. In fact, even after reviewing it, on a personal level it still
does not pull me in. However, despite personal biases that I have, I highly
admire the song’s composition and production. I will even go as far as to say
that it is definitely a solid song and one I recommend—and indeed, this is
significant considering “Tell Me” does not fit my personal preferences for
songs. Specifically for what amazes me, it is not just—as many fans are
currently praising—the vocals or even how the song itself is structured. What
grabs my attention is how the composers purposefully crafted “Tell Me” so that
its flow is that of short, choppy bits. Whether vocally or instrumentally, by
slicing up the song in brief pauses, this gives the song an impactful effect:
“Tell Me” is now able to adopt two contrasting positions. One position is that
the song is able to give off a calmer, smooth flow but equally, the song is
also able to possess an exciting, energetic and powerful style—all
simultaneously as well.

____________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(6.00/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 6/10
(6.14/10 raw score)

Introduction, Chorus,
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus,
Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 7/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 6/10

6.     Bridge:  6/10

7.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 5/10

Anywhere
Anytime

Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again
Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again

I ran away, I’m getting used to it
Like a misunderstanding,
I thought the end was here
I messed everything up
I’m in another typical drama
I feel so empty
Only filled with regrets

I love you in my mind
I want to hear those sweet words from you
Just like before
I know you in my heart
Words that comforted me
I’ll look back, I’ll hold on
Just like the days when things were hot

Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again
Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again

Tell me love
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Tell me Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Tell me tell me
Tell me tell me
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Come back to me baby

Let’s go I miss you all day
Every day, I draw you as if I’m a painter
Even deep into the night
I hear you in my dreams
Memory replay
Don’t pass me by
Come into my arms
I’m lost, looking for you, go walk walk hard

I love you in my mind
I want to hear those sweet words from you
Just like before
I know you in my heart
Words that comforted me
I’ll look back, I’ll hold on
Just like the days when things were hot

Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again
Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again

Tell me love
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Tell me Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Tell me tell me
Tell me tell me
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Come back to me baby

I want to hear your voice
The melody that rang in my ears
Whisper to me once more
I know I’m so selfish but I’ll try to embrace you

Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again
Wherever I go, wherever I am
I miss you so much, I can’t take it anymore
Please come back to me again
Please come back to me again

Tell me love
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Tell me Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Tell me tell me
Tell me tell me
(Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo
Love love lo-lo-lo-lo)
Come back to me baby

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: First,
before discussing the effects of the choppiness, I believe it is worth
clarifying and identifying what that choppiness even is. When listening to the song, both the vocals and instrumental
are sliced into different bits, and we can tell by the different points of
emphasis. For example, with the vocals at the choruses, the lines are stuttered
and rather than the singing gradually becoming more intense, it skips in blocks
towards higher notes and beltings. To better understand this, consider the
opposite: “The Chaser.” In that iconic song, not only are entire lines directly
sung from the very start to end in a linear fashion, but the vocal beltings
that occur equally follow a linear path via gradually expanding versus, in “Tell
Me,” having the beltings hit hard only towards the end of lines. So, in
summary, while “The Chaser” follows a linear style of the song’s intensity
increasing as the song runs its course, in “Tell Me” we notice that it spikes
throughout the song. There are moments where it is relatively tame but at other
moments, the song will include many faster paced moments all while returning to
that calmer state in only a short duration.

Now
for why this choppiness is incredibly effective in “Tell Me,” as mentioned
earlier, it allows the song to become versatile with its style as it now
becomes both a calmer song but also the standard, upbeat style that Infinite is
known for.

Focusing
first on how “Tell Me” establishes its calmer position, let us ignore the
spiking, choppy style. If we ignore that feature of the song, we will realize
it is in of itself a rather plain song. The post-choruses provide an excellent
example: it is nothing more than Infinite’s vocals fading in and out of the
instrumental—and of which is only repeating an edited, robotic sound of “love.”
Again, comparing this to “The Chaser” and it is the complete opposite: in “The
Chaser,” its choruses (the climactic equivalent) showcase vocals and
instrumental that pair up together at their highest, energetic peaks to give off
Infinite’s signature upbeat style. In other words, then, we find that “Tell Me”
with its actual physical sounds and pacing is far from fast or exciting.

And
yet, we still are under the impression that “Tell Me” has a sense of urgency;
the choppiness that is added creates the notion that “Tell Me” is constantly in
motion and set with a faster pace. Because of the slight pauses and breaks
inserted through the vocal beltings and almost every line that the members
sing, that is what allows “Tell Me” to equally appear as energetic despite sonically
that not being the case. After all, the pre-choruses perhaps best show this
effect in action. Listening at that section, the instrumental itself becomes
passive—this is to build up toward the choruses. Nevertheless, the vocals that
occur seem to be far from passive: very short yet sharp beltings occur rather
than a singular long belt. If the pre-choruses followed a single, longer vocal
belt, then indeed the song would appear to be slower—but that is the not what
occurs. Instead, the segmented bits create a sense of a faster pacing especially
because of how the choppiness allows more than one vocal belting to occur.

Overall,
although the ratings might not truly highlight the song’s impressive, unique,
and effective style, I argue this song deserves the current praise it is
receiving. The song takes a new approach to a pop song that I have yet to
encounter, and despite the major risk at play, it does pay off with its
outcome. Additionally with the men of Infinite delivering their fantastic
vocals and now we have a desirable pairing: unique, effective song composition
with the vocal skills to execute it.

_______________________________________________________

I
will finish the review for SF9 soon along with perhaps too many TWICE songs to
cover as well. A bonus review—or even two—are in mind, so I am excited for that
as well. (And both of which will hopefully include interesting discussions as
well, whether it be musical or social.)

Until the next review
and finishing an already growing stack of homework, “I love you in my mind”—and
this is perhaps why I need to find better ways of ending reviews. Just look
forward to SF9 and TWICE reviews.