P1Harmony Bring the Energy in First Studio Album “때깔 (Killin‘ It)”

By: Sara Conway
02/05/2024
en
Thumbnail courtesy of FNC Entertainment.

One year ago, P1Harmony were well into the U.S. leg of their “P1ustage H: P1ONEER” world tour. While partying with their American P1ECE, there was no doubt that 2023 was going to be the year of Keeho, Intak, Theo, Jiung, Soul, and Jongseob. As we step into the new year, there also is no doubt that 2024 is the K-pop group’s year, too. 

First up? P1Harmony’s full-length album. Released on February 5, 때깔 (Killin‘ It) features 10 tracks written and composed by the band. In 때깔 (Killin‘ It), P1Harmony dive into their signature hip-hop-inspired sound while also rising up to new challenges with unrelenting energy. 

P1Harmony Are Killin’ It

In an interview with Clash, leader and main vocalist Keeho dropped a few hints about a studio album. “Ooh, we would love a full-length album. I think it’s about time…,” he said last September. Well, the time has come! 

Rapper Intak kicks off the title track of this studio album, “때깔 (Killin’ It),” with a bang. As he raps, his raspy voice is backed by an energetic 808 bass and an electronic horn hook. Synth-driven with a classic P1Harmony touch, the lead single fuses together K-pop and ‘90s hip-hop influences. “때깔 (Killin’ It)” gets listeners blood pumping as the energy builds throughout the three-minute track. The best part about it is that you never want it to end — especially when Keeho drops his first “Yeah we slay” line. 

On the production side, “때깔 (Killin’ It)” is P1Harmony to a tee. The chanted chorus reflects “Back Down” and “JUMP,” while its earworm quality recalls that of “Do It Like This” and “Doom Du Doom.” The six members also infuse their new single with their signature themes. P1Harmony express their confidence and joy through their dance and voices, never forgetting to do so together. 

Image courtesy of FNC Entertainment.

The music video gives a visual language to this confidence. Korean slang for “good looks,” “때깔” is an appropriate title for this P1Harmony title track. Opening in an operation room, with clues hinting at surgery, “때깔 (Killin’ It)” underscores that the members are fine the way they are. In fact, they’re “killin’ it.” 

In the beginning of the video, dancer Soul slaps his members’ hands in time with the beat. Similar to how you would hype up your teammates during a sports game, this scene subtly emphasizes P1Harmony’s own teamwork. 

Chains, diamonds, and more shiny things show up frequently in “때깔 (Killin’ It),” whether on P1Harmony or around them. However, the members still let their good-natured humor slide into the video. For example: vocalist Jiung’s outfit change moment. In the blink of an eye, Jiung is no longer wearing jeans but a dark blue suit. His pose stays the same as an omnipotent editor copies Jiung’s figure and drops him into a Notes app page. 

The rest of his P1Harmony members are there, too, frozen, while a giant yellow cursor blinks besides Jiung. When the post-chorus kicks in, the P1H stickers suddenly come alive and start dancing. These clever edits kick P1Harmony’s music videos up a notch alongside their classic K-pop choreography moments. 

All the Love For P1Harmony 

P1Harmony look intimidating on the outside with their shiny jewelry, brightly-colored hair, and large selection of sunglasses in the 때깔 (Killin’ It) concept photos. But take a peek inside the album, and you’ll find so much love.

The band takes listeners on a rollercoaster ride, from the sensual “Late Night Calls” to the unrelenting energy of “Emergency.” Maknae and rapper Jongseob contributed to all 10 tracks. Meanwhile, Keeho, Jiung, and Intak also have composition and/or writing credits across the album. 

Following in the wake of the unabashed anthem “때깔 (Killin’ It),” comes “Late Night Calls.” (It can be considered the cousin of “If You Call Me” from the group’s second mini album, DISHARMONY : BREAK OUT.) This R&B track slows the pace down a little bit, allowing listeners to catch their breath. Through P1Harmony’s smooth and controlled vocals, the members capture a “sophisticated and sentimental” love in “Late Night Calls.” 

Everybody Clap,” on the other hand, highlights the synergy and positivity you can cultivate with others. P1Harmony hype up listeners and calls on everyone to clap, drawing the energy higher and higher. With a “free-style chanting” style, the members coax their P1ECE to let everything go for a moment. Meanwhile, P1Harmony calm down hearts (or maybe make them speed up?) with the sweetness of “Love Story.” Acoustic guitar moments, falsetto harmony, and production by Jiung, “Love Story” earns an easy listening status. 

Images courtesy of FNC Entertainment.

As 때깔 (Killin’ It) reaches its halfway point, the energy soars again. “Countdown to Love” is the hype song, bringing the synths and heavy drums to the forefront. It’s impossible not to join in when P1Harmony sing, “Counting five, four, three, two, one / We’re going up.” The same goes for the sixth track of the album, “Emergency.” Frantic energy — created by the electric guitar riffs — add extra tension to the chaos in the lyrics. 

“I See U” and You See Me

P1Harmony are not ones to let the energy drag at any moment. (“Swagger” was one of their concert encore tracks.) Their first full-length album is no different. “2Nite,” “Let Me Love You,” and “Street Star” keep the energy and good vibes racing forward. . 

“2Nite” leans toward a different kind of power than that of “Killin’ It,” “Countdown to Love,” and “Emergency.” Instead of favoring the maximalist route, “2Nite” highlights a minimalist hook in the vein of “Doom Du Doom.” The plucking intro and the satisfying bass throughout the track set the scene. “2Nite” is what would play in a movie scene where the characters let loose in a club. Pounding bass, flashing lights, and, of course, the punch of “2Nite.” 

“I need your love,” the members sing in the eighth track, “Let Me Love You.” P1Harmony charm a special person — and their listeners — with raspy voices, straightforward lyrics, and a little cheekiness. Jongseob’s rap, in particular, is a stand-out moment. He leans into the chaos created by the collision of crashing instrumentals with the rhythm of his rap flow. Those who wait out this chaos, however, are rewarded as “Let Me Love You” transitions into smooth vocals and harmonies.

Images courtesy of FNC Entertainment.

“Street Star” is another “confidence-boosting anthem” on 때깔 (Killin’ It), beginning with an engine starting up. P1Harmony declare, “Imma street star,” emphasizing their full embodiment of the title “when the beat starts.” Following the busy chorus, the syncopation of Intak and Jongseob’s rap verses make an impact. The production backing them remains minimal, allowing the full strength of their voices to capture the spotlight.

I See U” closes out the winding path of 때깔 (Killin’ It). Dedicated to their fans — P1ECE — P1Harmony sing a little softer while the instrumental gets a little sweeter. In this Keeho, Jiung, and Jongseob-composed track, the R&B vibe and natural swing of the song make it stand out. P1Harmony don’t hesitate to get to the point, singing, “I see you, my baby” in the first second.

The heart of the track, though, is the lyric they refuse to complete until the very end. In the first two choruses, they sing, “One thing I love is…;” however, they always move on before finishing the sentence. By the time “I See U” reaches its end, P1Harmony finally add the missing “you” to the heartfelt line. 

The six members of P1Harmony push expectations and their skills in 때깔 (Killin’ It) while understanding how to best tell their stories. Love — love for that special person, love for fans, love for fellow members — is clearly on their minds. But love also looks a lot like P1Harmony. 

A New Era Is Here

Although P1Harmony debuted in 2020, these past three and a half years prepared them well for their first full-length studio album. After overcoming disharmony and achieving harmony in their six mini albums, they really are “killin’ it.” 

In the past few months, the group has reached the No. 24 spot on Top 40 U.S. pop radio with their single “Fall In Love Again.” They also are confirmed to perform at Gov Ball on Saturday, June 8. P1Harmony will be the first K-pop boy group to appear at this New York music festival. 

Image courtesy of FNC Entertainment.

Last year, the music video for “JUMP,” the title track on HARMONY : ALL IN, received 20-plus million views in one night following its release. From January 14, 2023 to January 14, 2024, too, P1Harmony were traveling the world for their “P1ustage H: P1ONEER” tour. In that time, they have performed in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Now, there is a new piece to the P1Harmony puzzle and a new journey to embark on with the release of 때깔 (Killin’ It). P1Harmony have fought for a place in the music industry, carving a path just for them. As they know, they will always “compete on their own terms without compromise.” 

Listen to 때깔 (Killin’ It) on all music streaming platforms. Plus, keep up with P1Harmony on YouTube, Instagram, X, and TikTok.

Want more new music to add to your playlists? Check out EnVi’s latest Sunday Spin breakdown here!