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ATEEZ Are Keeping It Hot With New Comeback ‘BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)’

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K-Pop’s favorite pirate crew, the internationally famous ATEEZ, have traded in their cutlasses and compasses for cowboy boots and spurs with the release of their ninth mini-album “THE WORLD EP.2: OUTLAW” on June 16. 

Featuring the title track “BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS),” the octet showcased their powerful dance skills and versatile vocals in a high-energy, narrative music video. The six-track mini-album is also a narrative continuation of their cross-dimensional storyline spanning music videos dating back to 2019.

ATEEZ is an eight-member group under small company KQ Entertainment that debuted on Oct. 24, 2018, with their first title track “Pirate King.” ATEEZ have consistently established themselves in the K-Pop industry despite their humble beginnings, with previous mini-album “THE WORLD EP 1: MOVEMENT” placing third on the Billboard 200 album charts and naming them one of five “Rising Korean Artists To Know Now” in 2021. They were even dubbed “4th Generation Leaders” by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in May 2020.

The “BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)” music video brings the heat through dynamic visuals and a fresh sound. The members put in their all through four duos each presenting their own unique concepts: Hongjoong and Mingi as cowboys, Yunho and Jongho as mechanics, Seonghwa and Yeosang as bikers and San and Wooyoung as boxers.

The loose narrative of the video paired with ATEEZ’s flawless performance capabilities highlights the song’s message: you can easily change the world through confidence and music.

Each member was also given space to shine in their unique concepts; just to name a few, Yeosang’s homage to the iconic “Akira slide,” San’s taekwondo kick knockout and Mingi’s Western-style shootout provided beautiful moments for the music video.

“BOUNCY” easily grabs the attention of its listeners and refuses to let go. And, just like eating a meal with just a dash of too much chili pepper, you can’t help biting into each fiery verse despite the burn. The bridge gets you clapping along before the chorus, “Slow it down, make it bouncy,” reminds you how addicting spice can be.

ATEEZ is known as a performance-first group, and this new comeback was no different. From the follow-the-leader style choreography that you can’t take your eyes off of, to the back-breaking limbo move in the post-chorus, ATEEZ once again avoids creating a boring performance. 

It would seem like the K-Pop industry agrees with this, if the sheer amount of participants for their TikTok challenge is anything to go by. Due to the chorus’s simple yet visually entrancing point choreography, the #BOUNCY_challenge has over 31 million views and countless contributions from both fans and fellow idols wanting to show off their appreciation for the song. Seeing collaborations with iconic dancers like Hyungwon from MONSTA X, Taeyoung from NCT or Kazuha from LE SSERAFIM, it’s no wonder this fiery choreography is starting to taste like the dance of the summer.

ATEEZ didn’t just stop at making an amazing title track. The other five songs on the mini-album show off a diverse range of concepts for fans to explore.

“With the title track ‘BOUNCY,’ it’s a lot of fun vibes and energetic colors,” ATEEZ member Jongho said in an interview with USA TODAY. “For the other tracks, [we] can take on different concepts. This mini album, itself, is a variety. Musically, it is very diverse.”

The album starts with “This World,” a truly chilling track with haunting tones that compel the listener to join ATEEZ’s quest against the fictionalized tyrannical government of their lore that bans music, art and all emotional expression. The song’s choreography utilizes quick but powerful movements and genius uses of white cloth to emphasize their desperation in saving this alternate world from the emotionless “darkness.” 

A repeated line from the previous mini-albums introduction entitled “PROPAGANDA” — the lyrics “Lies, Control, Rules / Numb, Hatred, Emptiness” — is sung repeatedly by deep-voiced member Yeosang to tie this album’s storyline to the previous one’s. “This World” is the song most deeply connected to ATEEZ’s previously established storyline.

Following this, “Dune” utilizes the ethereal vocals of singer San in the chorus to convey a certain hopelessness of reaching an end to their rebellion, stating “Heaven’s door is getting farther and farther away.”

“DJANGO” references a character from an old 1966 Spaghetti Western by the same name, and ties the album to its cowboy theme with lines reminiscent of an old Western standoff. “Wake Up” uses captivating chants and main vocalist Jongho’s enthralling vocals in an attempt to wake the listener up from an illusion that has you “tied up in lies” — a repeated theme in ATEEZ’s other works.

Outlaw” closes out this mini-album with ATEEZ fully accepting their “outlaw” identities and warning all that oppose them of their strength as a group. The song’s poppy choreography fits well with the hypnotic tempo of the song and showcases the group’s easy confidence with step sequences that emphasize their physical agility and synchronization. The song ends with Yeosang stating “Better run ‘cuz I’m the outlaw,” and all the members raising their hands in a very tongue-in-cheek gesture of surrender.

ATEEZ has proven once again that they are not playing around when it comes to making authentic and refreshing music for their fans. Especially as a group that has struggled to make a “hit song” in Korea, even with a substantially intense international following, this album feels like it isn’t trying to pander to certain audiences in order to gain popularity. Instead, it stays authentic to ATEEZ’s mission to tell stories and encourage people regardless of “where you are, your age, religion and even country” — as stated in Mingi’s rap in “BOUNCY” — to change the world to be as accepting and passionate as possible.

“BOUNCY” received its first music show award on “The Show,” with ATEEZ member Yeosang acting as MC, on June 20 — exactly four years after their first win with “WAVE” in 2019. Hopefully, fans can expect many more wins for “BOUNCY” to follow.

Kaylie Harley is a 2022-2023 Copy Editor. She can be reached at