SuperM is roaring back onto the scene with their new comeback single, “100.” The anthemic dubstep-inspired track is the first official single from the group’s upcoming full-length debut, Super One, due out September 25th.
With big, techno-style beats and an aggressive, thumping bass line that wraps around staccato-style raps and a slinky melody, “100” shows off the group’s versatility and range as they rap and sing about stepping onto the gas pedal to accelerate to the top: “Into the fire, do or it’s die, you know that we run it / There ain’t no turning us down, you know we taking the crown.” It’s three and a half minutes of frenetic, high-energy fun.
The song was co-written and co-produced by SuperM member, Mark, who says the guys were excited to step it up in the booth, while also taking a more active role behind-the-scenes. “[The song] was a great chance to step into the making of the rap so I really hope the fans can hear the work we put into it,” he tells Rolling Stone. “We all have our individual parts on the recording as well and we all added our own ‘sauce’ and our own take on the lines,” he continues. “As the people who perform it and sing it, it’s very important for that to happen, and we always negotiate with the engineers while we record it so we feel like all of our parts feel like us.”
The accompanying music video features Kai, Taemin, Baekhyun, Taeyong, Mark, Lucas and Ten in Grand Prix-inspired getups while blasting through their signature dance routines on a futuristic set. Released Friday, the music video has already amassed four million views on YouTube.
SuperM first teased “100” during their exclusive online concert in April, which kicked off “Beyond LIVE,” the first concert series to be organized online after the coronavirus outbreak. SM Entertainment says the group’s nearly two-hour performance attracted more than 75,000 viewers from 109 different countries (put into perspective, it’s like selling out the Staples Center almost four times).
The new track hints at what’s to come for the seven-piece act as they get set to unveil their long-awaited debut album. Super One will feature 15 tracks including “Tiger Inside” (which the group performed during its “Beyond LIVE” concert) and “Dangerous Woman,” which the group debuted earlier this year during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Tiger Inside” will be released on September 1st.
Formed last August as a “super group” of members from existing SM Entertainment acts, SuperM released a mini album in October, before embarking on a world tour that took them across North America, and parts of Europe. They returned to Korea in March to begin work on their first full-length release, though the members also had to fulfill responsibilities with their original groups (Mark, for example, returned to NCT 127 to help promote their new album, The 2nd Album NCT #127 Neo Zone).
Now that the new SuperM era has kicked off with “100,” the guys say they’re excited to be back together again. “It’s definitely been awhile since we’ve all been together like this,” says Kai, who says fans will “love” the new album. “We were able to showcase so many different sides of us, from different genres and styles to new performances,” he says. “It’s full of all the different music and styles that fans have been waiting for.”
Baekhyun, the group leader, is more specific: “The new album will have a lot of R&B, some more trendy songs, some retro vibes,” he says. “So expect a wide variety [of styles] — even more than the previous album.”
As for the themes and lyrics behind Super One: “The whole messaging of this album is based on hope and personal strength and I think it’s a really fitting message for the times that we’re in now,” says Baekhyun. “I hope the fans are able to get some encouragement from this and be able to see the positive instead of the negative right now.”
While their mini album debuted at Number One on the charts, the members say they aren’t putting pressure on themselves to replicate numbers or accolades. “Those are great and obviously we would want this album to perform well on the charts,” says Kai, “but ultimately, we want to be able to reach more listeners through the album and also for us to grow and mature as a group with the sound. It would be great for each project that we come out with to do better than the first,” he admits, “but that’s not the ultimate goal of ours.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Mark, who says the group is focused on taking things one song — and one performance — at a time. “It’s an assignment we give ourselves every day to improve and make ourselves better,” he says. “No matter how good you did it before, you want to do it better the next time.”
And while he admits that the pressure to succeed can be “stressful,” he adds, “It’s almost a good stress that keeps us striving. And luckily,” he says, “I feel like we have a great crew and great members, so we feed off each other’s energy and it’s always a team project.”
SuperM’s comeback comes on the heels of a big year for K-pop, which is no longer a “crossover” genre, but rather one that’s firmly entrenched in the mainstream. Baekhyun says he’s been excited to see the growth of K-pop, and gives credit to all the groups that have helped make K-pop the phenomenon it is today
“K-pop is one of those things that makes people curious and they want to check it out and listen to it,” he says. “All of the other groups that are currently active in the K-pop scene have helped, so that the synergy happens where so many different people are able to listen to and get into K-pop at the same time.”
As for those who have yet to be converted by K-pop’s charms, Baekhyun says he hopes they’ll give SuperM’s music a chance — and a listen. “K-pop as a genre is a mix of different things and that’s the biggest strength — it doesn’t matter your gender or your age or what you like,” he says. “Our songs and our stages and the performances are all very unique; they’re very attention grabbing and once you tune in, you can’t help but be mesmerized.”