INFINITE - Tell Me
INFINITE is a six-member boy group under Woollim Entertainment that's been around for nearly a decade. Having former member Hoya depart from the group late last year was a bit of a shock to me, but it seems that it hasn't stopped the rest of the group from preparing another comeback. "Tell Me" is the title track for INFINITE's latest album, Top Seed, which is their first full-length album in almost four years. The teasers had the classical piano and violin pieces mixed alongside heavier electronic beats, a signature sound behind several of INFINITE's hits, so I was excited to see what they would bring to the table this time.
What sounds like reversed piano notes slipped beneath a heavy electronic filter start the song off, fading from the left audio channel to the right one and creating an interesting effect when used alongside the other high-toned notes that pop in as well. We can hear a very muted "love" vocal, also under heavy filters, being repeated as the song pushes out of the introductory chorus and into the first verse. A very weighty electronic fluctuation is our main instrumental underlying a variety of vocals styled in several ways.
The pre-chorus features buttery smooth high vocals both in the foreground and background, melding together before the chorus comes pounding back in. The chorus is overall much louder than the rest of the song in terms of the number of sounds piled into it. The second verse has a hard drop, shifting the song to rest on the back of very heavy bass notes and trap-style percussion while a combination of rapping and singing hitch us back to the pre-chorus. The bridge slows things down, having a majority of the electronic sounds drop back in prominence in favor of letting a violin shine for but a moment before we're hit with a sublime high note and taken back for the final chorus.
"Tell Me" is not at all what I was expecting from INFINITE. It's certainly a different direction for the group, and personally I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of it. To me, the chorus kind of feels like it was a nibble instead of a strong bite. It doesn't have that stickiness that will keep me coming back for more, and while that's not necessary for every song to have, I don't think much else was interesting in the song for me, either. The high-pitched "love" sample was a bit too much for myself, and I'll be the first to admit that I miss the heavy influence of string instruments that was signature for INFINITE.
The video starts off with a member laying in bed, waking up and looking a little confused. He seems to be unfamiliar with his surroundings, and he opens the door to find a gigantic blue room of.. rooms. Each time that a member hops through a door, the scene changes to a new member and we get a change of scenery. There's a girl wandering about as well, and one of the guys sees her only to have us fade back to the very first scene of the first one waking up. It shows this particular part of him running after her with a few after images of him doing it, seeming to suggest that it's done multiple times.
We get shots of a puzzle on a table, one that's seemingly put together by the girl and is probably somehow a map of the maze of rooms. We have a member trapped inside of a box being circled by the girl riding a bike. The girl is shown in one of the rooms on an old television screen, and we see her several times shutting a door before one of the members can get to her. Soon enough we start seeing that there are flashbacks of the guys leaving her after what seems to be a fight. Just as the bridge hits we see her standing under a gorgeous white tree. The video ends just as one of the members touches her shoulder, and we cut back to the very start all over again.
Honestly, this video was a bit puzzling to me on the first watch. However, after the second time I think I've got a reasonable theory as to what is happening. The maze is simply a metaphor for the memories of a past relationship with this woman. Each room holds a different memory, hence why some of the rooms and scenes were happier than others. There was a painful ending to the relationship, and it's caused him so much heartache and he relives the memories out every night wishing he could change the outcome.
I think that the video was fairly entertaining, and definitely an interesting concept. There isn't much I can say other than what I've stated in my theory, but I hope that it's at least somewhat accurate and helpful. I liked the video enough to watch it a few times to make sure that my theory worked out in practice, but I don't think it's anything particularly spectacular.
I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed in this release. Part of that is certainly due to my expectations of INFINITE's sound (which was partially contrived from the teasers), and part of that is due to my lack of fondness for the overproduced sound that they ended up using. I feel like there's just a bit too much going in this song for me. There's a great use of the different vocal colors of all the members, and that's definitely a big plus, it's just that it ended up getting lost in the midst of the exploration of this particular song's instrumentation and style.